Prologue: Back to Mother Mekong

Bangkok Travel Blog

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South-East Asia and the Mekong
A pattern was starting to form. In recent years I had been making annual trips to Asia, but it seemed like I was alternating trips to South-East Asia with journeys to the Himalaya. Since I'd been to Ladakh and Northern India last year it was time to go back to South-East Asia once again. Already having been to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and reassuring myself that I definitely wanted to visit some other countries before I'd go back to any of these, there were still many choices left. Indonesia and Burma were also on my wish-list but it must have been Judith's stories of Laos that made me decide to go back to see Mother Mekong, the mighty river that flows all the way from Tibet to Vietnam, thereby being a bit of a thread running through my travels.
Laos


So, Laos it was. The 'where' had been set. Now the 'how'. I'd made several group travels in the past but I had arranged an individual journey with Bart last year which was a welcome diversion for me. Noticing that most group travels to Laos could only be made when combined with visits to Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam made the choice all the more easy. So another individually organised trip it was. I began comparing various organised trips in the country and before long I found myself combining bits and pieces into 'the ultimate Laos experience'. I wanted it all: trekking, temples, hill tribes, island hopping, tubing, kayaking, waterfalls and not skipping some of the must-see sights of the country along the way. Culture and adventure, that's what I wanted.
Ad and me after a day through the dusty jungle (Cambodia 2005)
Travel agency Koning Aap had offered good services on my trip last year, so I contacted them again to organise the program I had compiled.

I was convinced that I wasn't going to do this on my own. I'm not someone who likes to travel alone. As a matter of fact, I really like travelling in a group, although 8-10 people might be enough for me. This got me thinking. What if I gathered all those fun people around me that I'd travelled with in recent years. Like-minded folks with whom I'd really connected. What an excellent idea. Before long I found myself asking ten people if they wanted to join me. They basically all wanted to come along, but at the end of the day there were various reasons why they couldn't. They'd either didn't have enough days off left, were selling their houses, were changing jobs and I actually had to convince someone that it might not be a good idea to go to Laos three weeks after his wife would have given birth to their first born !

Having said that, there were three people that immediately said YES! No matter what would have to be arranged, they'd join me.
Mieke and me (Tibet 2006)
Just as I had expected they would. Ad and Mieke, who I'd met in Cambodia and who had joined me and Judith a year later to Nepal and Tibet, had always said that if I'd ever go to Laos they wanted to be there with me. Paul, a warmhearted guy I'd met on my trip to Ladakh last year, had also said that he'd be delighted to travel with me again. And so it came to be that the four of us made our plans for Laos mid 2009 and met at my hometown in September to get acquainted. With me being the linking pin this must have been weird for them. Different in characters as they were I was convinced that this quartet would work. ;-)

I spent the last month before the trip reading more about the country. Once a journey nears I start developing an insatiable thirst for background information.
Paul and me (India 2008)
I want to understand the country and it's psyche. I also downloaded quite a few documentaries about Laos, especially about the dubious role the US played in this country during the Vietnam war, turning Laos into the most bombed country in history. But more about this later ....

I got my renewed vaccination, malaria pills and I even decided to buy a mini notebook for this trip. My PDA and bluetooth keyboard had been of excellent service in recent years but the battery was starting to fail and I'd been spending too much time in dodgy Internet cafes fiddling around with pictures to be uploaded amd catching all kinds of computer virusses along the way. This tiny 1 kg tool offered much more functionality and user friendliness without the need to carry a laptop around. Yeah sure, call me crazy but I like to do my writing while on the road ... as you will notice.
therese51 says:
Hallo Paul en Ed,
Even een melding dat ik op de blog actief kan zijn. Account gelukt (er zijn veel Terry's die reizen :-)) Jullie gaan vandaag de grens over, veel plezier en groeten aan Ad en Mieke.
Groet, Terry
Posted on: Nov 08, 2009
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South-East Asia and the Mekong
South-East Asia and the Mekong
Laos
Laos
Ad and me after a day through the …
Ad and me after a day through the…
Mieke and me (Tibet 2006)
Mieke and me (Tibet 2006)
Paul and me (India 2008)
Paul and me (India 2008)
Bangkok
photo by: Deats