Lets begin with some more border scams.. Arriving at the Lao border we were asked to pay 2 USD more then the posted price. Being experienced travellers we would not be scamed again (we had just had to pay on the way out of Vietnam). It also said on the poster that on holidays and weekends they would charge 2 USD more.. and we had landed in the midst of the Lao New Year – so it all made sense..
Completely soaked on the bus from the border

What Lao New Year was as about we soon discovered – a whole nation in one giant water-throwing-battle!! Old and young, monks and teenagers.. everybody are throwing water and some throw coloured water and flour. Small groups of people in – by now – multicolored t-shirts have dragged giant speakers into the street and are dancing around at spontaneously looking parties drinking Beerlao – the national – and rather good – beer

Water fights everywhere – and we got a bit of colour too 🙂

The New Years celebrations had cast their spell on the different sightseeing spots as well. Supposedly normally tranquil places like caves and waterfalls had turned into festival scenes with hundreds of people with picnic baskets, kids and beerlao. And thrifty salesmen had come to sell chiken feet on sticks and other tit-bits. Oh yes – and more loud music from high-pitch-challenged giant speakers. Much enjoyed by the lao-lao (Lao rice-wine)soaked ”dancers”.

Parking guard
On the other side of the cave things are a bit more calm

Laos smiles
Laos is the land of smiles – literally. No matter where you go people smile at you. It like it is a ”default setting” – the first choice of action when you have eye contact with another person. Here in Asia smiles work differently than back home. Here you smile at everything, when you are happy, when you are confused, when you’re mad.. All right, the smiles may differ a tad. Sometimes they are even accompanied by laughs, the more hysterical, the less happy generally or in some cases just coming from a group of teenage girls. But even with the many origins of the smiles they still make you feel happy. No matter what time of the day and even when you yourself might look tired and miserable you are greeted with a smile – and it works wonders – you have to smile back at them and you become a little bit more happy yourself. I am beginning to understand how these ”laughing clubs” work 😀

Two very common things in Laos; geckos and Beerlao (billbord comercial)

We managed a little culture as well – here in the “Angkor” of Laos (Wat Phu)
Some people might think we are crazy – it is 38 degrees celcius and up the stairs
The view from the backseat of the motorcycle
“Pedestrians” – nothing to do but to slow down
Bo unloads from the “ferry”

Last stop in Laos would make anyone happy. A couple of days by the Mekong river – nothing to do.. lovely…

Frangipani – Laos’ national flower