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Happy new year in Laos!

Laos, April 2015

Maro Verli Laos

A long shaped country on the map surrounded by Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and partly by China.

The flight from Thailand arrives near to the borders of Thailand from where I had to pass the immigration office and from there with my approved visa I had to cross the borders by bus. After crossing the bridge that separates the two countries, I had to take another bus to get to the capital of Lao.

Vietnete. It is a small city that you can go around in less than one hour by bike. There are many guest houses and hostels for backpackers and it has an apparent French influence from the colonial years.

Millions bombs were dropped by the American army during the Vietnam War. COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) is a museum that represents the damage caused to the country and by visiting the museum you contribute to victims who still suffer.

People are already prepared for the fiesta of the Water Festival that is celebrated in many countries of South East Asia. People on the cars carry large barrels full of water, in houses yards there are small swimming pool games and people of all ages splash water with water guns. There are small chances to cross the streets and stay dry.

Two days later, I take the overnight bus to get to Luang Prabang which is 10 hours far from the capital. The design of the bus was the most futuristic I’ve ever seen. But let me explain what I mean. Double-decker bus, which instead of seats it has beds for the passengers and the color around was all pink, with pink splashes. To add on this that the dress code of the airport staff was fancy floral shirts.

Louang Prabang, is a countryside, surrounded by the river Mekong, with beautiful traditional houses, with wooden roofs, French shops with tasty croissants, tuk tuk taxis and bicycles to go around the green neighborhoods.

Laotians love flowers. They put plants in their yards, in their houses and in the shops. Their cities are clean and tidy, nothing to compare with the Asia mess.

Laotians are quite people. They do not speak much and if they don’t speak English, which is common, they will turn their head on the other side to avoid your look. This is how you realize that they don’t understand what you are asking for.

Laotians share. During the morning monks make queues to receive from the locals their daily meal.

Laotians make patience. Even in the local markets they don’t push you to buy their stuff. Just waiting aside in patient to decide what you will choose.

Laotians mind their own business. The place has a sense of fear. You can see signs of communism everywhere. National flags are placed almost in every house and shop. Furthermore, there are locals that offer you drugs and this is a tricky way for the police to catch tourists.

On my last day, I am sending a card postal to my family in Greece… and I just wonder how many waves this envelope needs to cross over to arrive in my home… I stop for a beer in a restaurant that it is among the tall trees next to the river watching the children who play in the muddy water. I make a move just to put my feet in the water and they look at me trying to hide their laughter.

Few hours later, I have a dinner with Nat and Raff. We eat buffalo with vegetables. The waiter brought hot coals in a metal bucket, he put it in the middle of the table and we had barbecue with buffalo and fat.

Maro Verli LAOS-9

I was there, among tall coconut trees, with candles in the ambiance of a local restaurant, drinking my cold beer to realize again that the most valuable thing in travelling is the people you meet. This time, it was that couple who love each other and insist on their way. A Greek girl with a passionate Italian guy. We enjoyed the last beer and they made my trip, awesome.

Maro Verli LAOS-40

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