24th Aug 2011 - 4500 miles by land - SE Asia
'We must make the boom-boom every day!'
And so from the relative quiet of Laos into the well-meaning chaos of Cambodia (where we've been for a couple of weeks ish, I've just been a bit lazy with keeping this updated).
The last week or so of Laos was spent in Tat Lo, near Pakse, and then on a couple of islands in Si Phan Don near the border with Cambodia. Tat Lo was a tiny little place consisting of one street that ended abruptly in a patchy wooden bridge over a slightly flooded river coming down from a waterfall. It was also the place where we met Mama Pap, the lady who told me to go forth and breed. This was a tiny little old lady who ran a restaurant (Big food for small kips!) that had a menu mostly made up of things that could possibly be acquired somewhere in Laos, but weren't necessarily in the kitchen at that moment in time. That said, she wasn't lying when she said she made the biggest pancakes in all of the land. She was also hell-bent on kidnapping a 'baby falang (foreigner)' to keep and raise as her own - one little blonde toddler got chased down the road by her before she came back empty-handed, telling me that I should have a baby falang and give it to her in exchange for a Laos baby.
Si Phan Don was a nice, relatively chilled ending to Laos. One night was spent on Don Khong, the biggest of the 4000 Islands; we went for a bike ride all around the island, past rice paddies and palm trees, and wooden houses built on stilts. The next day we went further down the Mekong to Don Khone, a much smaller island. Here, it was blatantly obvious that we're in the middle of the wet season; the guest house was more in the Mekong than next to it (we paddled to the room, and had ducks splashing away under the floor) and the monsoon arrived in style on the second night with a massive powercut and drenching rain for hours.
And now we find ourselves in Siem Reap, having pottered to Ban Lung, Kompong Cham, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. In Ban Lung we walked out to a volcanic crater lake for a swim; beautiful green water that I launched myself into after being subjected to a sudden spider attack. It was a very graceful launching that ended in me with a bruised shin but no more spider. I continue to befriend small kids through the time-honoured method of pulling faces at them, and was used as climbing frame for about an hour by a small girl in Phnom Penh yesterday. I tried to return her to her mum, and she followed me back to the bit of wall we were on and proceeded to start boxing with Joe..
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