After a little ride back through the jungles of Cambodia i was bike riding along the Mekong back to Pakse. On my way there, right before the border, i stumbled upon two backpacker from Ukraine. They where out of water so we shared a watermelon i had with me and i gave them one of my water bottles. They are travelling the world on a budget and are experienced campers as well. We exchanged some stories and after a picture and a cigarette we waved each other goodbye. After checking in in my favorite guesthouse in Pakse, i went on a little walk to Chili’s Restaurant and say Hy to the whole crew there.
As usual the unexpected happend, good people showed up and suddenly there was a party going on which lasted until dawn. One of those people was Emma, another long time traveler with a cool Honda Wing bike, who also wanted to visit Tad Lo and the Bolaven plateau. Another one was Carmen who cycles the world to rise awareness for her charity project. She started in Hamburg with her bike and has ridden a similar route, but riding around Europe first and then slowly towards India and south east Asia. She is now already in China and i’m sure her trip is not be finished soon 🙂
As we sat on the terrace overlooking the Mekong river, one of the topics who came up was the scams who where happening to travelers here in Laos and Cambodia. Two of my friends here had been robbed in a very expensive but interesting way. First, a very nice, old lady or grandpa will talk to you somewhere on a square or so, asking you where you from. As you answer, the person will ask you, if you would want to lunch and answer some questions to a relative of him which is supposed to visit your home country. Since most of the fantastic experiences as a traveler start in this kind of way, most will agree to the free meal and go with the sympathetic mom or grandpa. There food and tea will be served to you and after a while the topic gambling will arise. Strangely enough, two very reasonable overland travelers found them self agreeing to this and ending up winning huge sums of money without even having started to pay something in the first time. As you sit there, euphoric from the drugs which has been put in the tea from before, winning huge sums of money while gambling in the back room of a house of a person you just met, will seem like the ultimate streak of luck for you… but no. One of my friends had a black jack in her hand when the opponent who had just lost 150000$ to her, said that he wanted to see some money before he continues the game. Tempted by the huge amount of cash, my friend himself emptied his bank account. Both didn’t had the full amount of cash on their accounts and it was agreed, that the game would continue tomorrow. As they woke up the next morning, they realized, that it was probably not the safest idea to leave the money with the “good friends” they just had met. On the road they call those friends the Filipino mafia 😉
Both of those cases happen in Phnom Penh and so i was warned what was to come…
We left Pakse the next morning towards Tad Lo and again, this magical place kept us in his ban for the next couple days. The peace and tranquility of this village is a bliss after one month in the busting town of Siem Reap. We spend a lots of time with one local family which Emma knew from previous travels. So it became our morning routine to have a strong coffee and a good chat with Me Tao, the grandmother, and then go for a breakfast somewhere around the village. When we weren’t at Me Taos or in Martins secret garden, we explored the waterfalls around the Bolaven plateau or chatted with the backpackers around… in short, a really relaxed and fantastic time. A impressive couple we met there was Erin and Pete, both long time travelers, they work online and usually have a flat in the country they are in. Next destination: Georgia 🙂
Since Julie, a french friend from Tad Lo had to go back to France unexpected, a huge goodbye party was organized. Everybody from the village came to say goodbye and to give Julie a Baci and to party together until dawn. I met many new friends and the food which Me Tao and her daughters had cooked was fantastic.
After two short weeks, my time in Lao was over already and I had to part from all my friends in Tad Lo and leave towards Cambodia again.