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China ended. Finished, you might say. As the edge of the abyss. And we, though failed in a soft greenery of Laos.
Laos often attend "together". Along with Thailand or Vietnam or Cambodia. Laos have no any special dishes, known all over the world. Laos have no sea and bright azure shores. But Laos is his religion, there are mountains and impenetrable forests, which cover their slopes. So just so there few rides, especially from Russia and CIS countries. Maybe because of this, the information that we had were very slim-only dry facts.
This country, a former French colony, once inhabited by a large number of nationalities that are currently divided into three groups: those living on the Plains-Mekong Valley, in the mountainous and remote mountains. We know that the people in Laos live in poverty, and at the same time-this is the heart of Indochina. That famous Mekong flows through it.
In life it was brighter and bigger. Saying goodbye to China, almost on the run, because pedestrian border closes at 4.30 pm (Russians do not need a visa for stays of up to 14 days, as Belarusians (approx.. revision)), we were faced with a wall of tropical forest on a small zamyzgannoj a dirt square with saraûškami made of bamboo.
From her was one sole covered with asphalt road without markup. And she walked deep into the country. After a couple of kilometres, however, civilization began, a small Chinese village, where you can meet another Chinese noodles and chicken feet in the vacuum bag, as well as Exchange Yuan at Lao bales (this feel like a millionaire too-a lot of them get it). At five o'clock in the evening, border stops flowing, so even before nightfall is the last bus that takes you to the nearest town. This fact is not scared, topaâ by an asphalt road, we looked to the forest on the sides, choosing a place for the tent.
But suddenly, stopped the machine, without the numbers, with zatonirovannymi under zero glasses, including wind. Out of it came a young nice guy to release the trunk for backpacks. His wife was sitting in the cabin. It was a border guard, who was returning home after a day's work. He said that will take us to the nearest village in 50 km away and the bus will be held there tomorrow morning. We were such a meeting, because our new friend spoke good English, and we could finally learn how to say those or other household words in Lao. In addition, we asked him to write a "ratification" in Lao, that we from Russia and travel on passing transport.
After 50 km our roads parted, it's time to say goodbye. The Sun village, the air so pure is really noticeably after China was filled with singing cicadas. The first Café (as it turned out, only) we decided to see what to eat here. The couple at the next table-people business, not poor (as our first laosec, not counting the border guards), a man and a woman peacefully supper happily seizing fig beetle larvae. And here's a Hello, Laos, I thought.
Waiting for our rice with vegetables, although we were explained with a cheerful hostess that want a meal without meat, I am still worried. But everything turned out delicious and simple, though more expensive than the abandoned us.
Children along the way, genuinely smiled and offered a more unusual, but pleasant to the ear "sabadiii". In the eyes of the apparent openness to life: If China absolutely cannot see how local people live here-big wide open doors, pass the sight deep into the home.
At prevailing darkness, going a little further down the road, we found a good place under the vault of the tall trees, the striženom field near two single-storey small buildings of the school. Only one of the buildings there were doors (not all were closed), another same was like more a long saraûšku with a thatched roof and lopsided walls from the same ubiquitous bamboo.
We still couldn't fall asleep admiring the starry sky through the open mesh side entrance. The night came the clouds, straight on the ground, but the heat has not disappeared. Dense fog settles on huge leaves of trees in height and roll heavy drops. The sound was similar to rain, but rain was not.
Woke up and moved in a way, all in the same fog.
All the same one curved asphalt road in the green light in a damp air began to exude the outlines of raging on the sides of the vegetation. All bus and we waited at least hitchhike back. When the Sun rose above the clouds also climbed by opening we, finally, views of the mountains and rice fields.
And here, finally began hitchhiking! We designed the first machine in the body, and it was exactly what we wanted. Of the body offers excellent review-what more do you need for the first day in a new country?
In Laos there are no tunnels, direct Chinese highway ends at the border, and a small Lao road meanders for each gray Ribbon mount exactly repeating all of her curves, through rare small villages with bamboo bungalows on stilts. From this movement becomes not so fast-medium speed of any machine in this way 50 km per hour. In addition, few travel long distances, often in a nearby village. Therefore, to the small town of Namo, we traveled long enough for a long time and until the next larger city with more difficult to read the name on the map of Oudomxay. Already there are on bus station and bought a bus ticket to Luang Prabang.
Buses in Laos is a separate topic. Local bus usually has no clear time of departure (no, it can be stated in the schedule, but that still doesn't mean anything). However, if you already have a ticket, you should arrive well in advance as space on the ticket does not indicate. If after an hour after the scheduled time of departure, the bus still have empty seats, then it quickly changed to smaller. Bulky baggage not passing from roof to roof, passengers RAM in another Salon. But that's not all. The number of passengers is limited only by the imagination of the driver and even the next hour passes in search of wanting to go to the same bus. When all rammed and the door finally closed, the driver includes music and clogged the van hits the road.
The road to Luang Prabang, owing to more frequent use, apparently quite worn. In some places it does has a kind of punctuation: asphalt-primer. So the speed is even lower. In Laos generally, distances measured in kilometers is useless due to the endless serpentine. So, to Luang Prabang we rode 9:00, although the road was not more than three hundred kilometers (approximately 100 kilometres and a straight-on the map). And that's quite already for the night, we finally Luangprabange!
And the next day began another acquaintance with Laos, about which we will tell you more. But despite all the difficulties, it would seem, early days in Laos were happy for us. Open people, laughing children and as many unusual around, unseen before. Green mountains and jungles, fields and rare village, clean air and cloudy blue sky-it was all incredibly nice. And we are happy to have delved into this new seat for us.
Listen to Laos you can link: sounds of Laos