It's time to go off grid for a while. Part of our trip to Laos includes an overnight stay in the Kamu village: a purpose built lodge resort adjacent to the dwellings of an indigenous Laotian tribe namely the Kamu's. This meant a 3 hour trip on the Mekong in a long, but quite speedy, boat seeing as we went all the sights and sounds of life on this iconic river. I decided at one point to listen to some AC/DC on my iPod (thanks Gav) and pretended I was Larry Fishbourne for a while. There'll be more of that sort of thing happening in the future I'm sure, but for now let's discuss this part of the trip.
Our accommodation at the resort was part tent (for the main room) and part stone-built for the bathroom. It was powered by solar cells which worked well for the lights but not so much for the shower which was a bit nippy. Overall though, I thought it was quite comfortable, spacious and light and better than I was expecting.
The activities we had planned were a tour of the Kamu village which included watching people go about their day-to-day lives and see how they make various items such as forging knives, weaving bamboo and making crossbows (to shoot rats with apparently). They all seemed happy enough without wifi, electricity, TV, gas, and all those things we take for granted. They even had a corner shop which sold sweets, cigs and beer so it wasn't too bad at all. The village children seemed to be having a fantastic time playing in the sand on the "beach" next to the village, one accidentally touched my hand as she ran past and after a fit of the giggles said sorreee, sorreee for a good 5 minutes; all very amusing.
After that we had a go at crossbow shooting, harvesting rice, Kamu fishing and panning for gold. I'm pleased to say I excelled at all these things and Carolyn didn't – result! (humph, Carolyn here; slight omission to rectify, I won the crossbow, but yes was rubbish at the fishing, even getting the net stuck on a button on my "all purpose" shirt when I tried to throw the damn net! Hee hee, all on video, so for those who want a laugh, let me know when we get back. You never know we might even be able to make some money back on this trip yet; namely £200 from "You've been framed".)
There weren't that many visitors on this particular night so just six of us sat together to eat meals and all but Carolyn and me were French but it meant we could practice our mastery of this language which as it turned out was quite poor; so much more practice require.
All the meals were served in an open structure at the centre of the camp by very helpful Kamu staff who actually cooked us some of the best food we have eaten in Laos. Dinner was most interesting as it was eaten to a very loud accompaniment of crickets, locusts or whatever else was surrounding us and at one point a huge one landed on my head then hopped onto the dinner table (surprisingly Carolyn remained seated and no scream ensued!). I'm glad that the rest of them stayed out in the dark or we might have had an issue.
So it was an early night which once safely shrouded in my mosquito net meant I slept soundly without a care until morning when I was awoken by Carolyn hopping around trying to fend off her latest imaginary insect attack (me again, all lies!). So now it's back by boat to LP visiting en route the Buddha-filled Tam Ting caves on the banks of the river and then onto Vietnam and Hanoi where I shall get fully into Apocalypse Now mode. You have been warned.
That afternoon we spent our remaining time wandering through the town getting some lunch and visiting the markets bartering for small items with the locals trying to get rid of the Laotian Kips we had which would be worthless anywhere else. It was on this day I acquired my, now beloved, Beer Lao t-shirt from a street vendor and you'll no doubt see I wore it a lot on our journey. We didn't know it of course but Laos would be like a quiet visit to the country compared to the madness of Vietnam and that's where we were heading next.