AsiaLaosDon Det

Hammock stories

Don Det Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 45 › view all entries

The 4000 islands is a place where the days agendas are a foreign concept and slow moving days are spent sharing stories in swaying hammocks overlooking the beautiful Mekong river.  Dominic and I met up with Finish Martin in every city we stopped in Laos with no plans to do so.  The oddest of the lot was when we bumped into him on a local bus from Vientiane to the Buddha Park, one of which leaves every fifteen minutes.  When we again randomly saw Martin on the small beach on Don Det Martin shared his most unlikely chance travel story.

A few years back Martin was traveling in Argentina.  He stopped into visit an ex-girlfriend who lived in a Northeastern town named Salta.

  He stayed stayed week but the flame had died over the years that passed since they met last so he moved on.  Later on his trip he fell in love, as Martin seems to do regularly, with a girl in Buenous Aries.  He stayed with her for a couple of weeks before continuing on his travels.  A month later, while in Santiago, he called the girl from BA to arrange plans for another visit.  Her mother answered the phone and angrily queried him on which girl he was returning to Argentina to visit.  Martin listened with a dropped jaw as she explained that the his two girls that lived on opposite ends of Argentina were cousins and shared their stories about their Finish man while on a road trip when Martin was off in Chile.
  The girls decided that he was a dog and probably had a girl at every port, which is probably not to far off from the truth.  Moping over his unreasonably bad luck Martin returned home without stopping at Salta or BA.

Martin's story was countered by the eternally unnatruly chilled Scottish dude who was staying in the shanty shack guesthouse next to mine.  His story was set in Bangkok.  He had just arrived and went for a beer before setting out to find a guesthouse.  I am sure he was stoned at the time because somehow he forgot his bag at the watering hole and did not realize it until he checked into his guesthouse.  He searched for the bar for a couple of hours but could not rember where it was or what it looked like.

  He eventually gave up his search and decided to stop for a beer to contemplate his next move.  He went into a bar that he and was happily surprised to see his bag next to him as he sat and order a large Chang. These life experiences involving impossible odds are common with those who choose to spend a good portion of their life exploring the corners of the globe.

Dominic and I decided to explore the surrounding islands via kayak.  We did not bother to pack a lunch because the kayak renter told us that we could stop to eat at another island about an hours paddle away.  Equipped with a hand drawn map we headed out on the Mekong.  It was soon clear that the oval blobs on the back of pamphlet did not line up very well with the natural world around us.

  We asked for directions from the many fishermen along the way as we paddled upstream through sections of mild white water.  After four hours in the blazing sun with no water we no sign of the promised island with restaurants we turned back.  Locals on the remote islands stared at us as if we were the first white men they had ever seen as we passed remote islands on the way back.  The children smiled from ear to ear and rolled around laughing when we waved at them.

We also went for a quick two hour float.  The rental lady had her daughter drove us out a ways in there motorized long canoe.  We took our time sipping our big beer Laos on the way.  While willing being trapped in a large eddie current, we were surprised to see the rental lady and her daughter coming out to see us.

  They came all the way out on their boat to try to sell us a tour to the next town that was having a festival that evening.  The festival sounded interesting but we were in no shape to get on a bus with a bunch of people.  We chose rather to stay in our eddie current and laugh about this strange sales technique.

Many people get stuck on these extremely chilled island for a week or even a moth.  I would have loved to stay here longer but I had to leave after only days to meet up with my friend from home in Cambodia.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Don Det
photo by: Stevie_Wes