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Thursday 24 Apr 2003
Savannakhet, Laos

Im baaaaaaack!

Hi guys Im back in Savannakhet!

Havent been able to update site recently either because the net was too slow, there was a blackout, or Ive been on an island with no electricity!

Heres a brief rundown of what I would have written had I got the net access...

20 April - Pakse


Today I rented a moto for a whopping 10 dollars (excluding petrol - Im quickly discovering that Laos is NOT cheap ... even though I was told otherwise!!) and went off to Wat Phu Champasak... this temple is supposed to have been created by the same Khmer people that built the Angkor temples in Cambodia (this part of Laos was joined to Cambodia under one kingdom in those days - there is even a road leading from the temple on a direct course to Angkor Wat - about 500 miles away!)

I love the Champa architecture and this place is well worth a visit since it strongly resembles a "mini" Angkor Wat (with an extravagent promenade and surrounding lakes/moats)... later that day I got a PROPER massage for only 2.50.. put my shoulder right once more!

Driving around Laos was great because the roads are FANTASTIC... not a single pot-hole for miles. Im also quickly finding that Lao people are not QUITE as poor as they are made out to be (nowhere else in South East Asia have I seen such an abundance of shiny new Landrovers) but I put this down to a small population (5 million) even though their GDP is the lowest in the region.

Another funny thing about Laos is the currency. The largest note here is 20000 kip (which roughly equals 2 dollars) but you generally get the money in units of 1000 kip (10 cents). I wasnt too amused when I changed 10 dollars and got a WAD of cash that literally had to be tied up with an elastic band and put into my bag (was about an inch thick)... tommorrow (25 April) Im going to be cashing one 100 dollars traveller cheque... pity me.

21 - 24 April - Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)

For these 3 days I went off down South to the Cambodia-Laos border to Si Phan Don (means the "4000 Islands") and stayed on Don Det island in a hut with a hamok for one dollar each night... ooh they had a guitar too... bliss!

While here I saw Irriwaddy Dolphins (only about 20 left in the Mekong!), went swimming in Waterfalls, swam in the Mekong (surprisingly clean here!) and sat in a rubber ring drinking Beer Lao till the sun went down... then did the obligatory beach-piss-ups till 4am!

Great time... bit too laid back though.. I found I was running out of stuff to do so I headed back to Pakse this morning (amid a dreadful downpour (foon lai as they say in Lao) - which incidentally almost sunk our boat on the way leaving Don Det)

I think that about covers the past 3 days...

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