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Laos- Si Phon Don- 4000 Islands, Don Det

VIETNAM | Sunday, 23 January 2011 | Views [1825] | Comments [1]

Laos- Si Phon Don (4000 Islands)- Don Det
Paradise on Earth is waiting for us all at this remote fishermans island in the southern part of beautiful Laos. Here, the clocks stop, peoples shoulder sag into instant relaxation and everyone has an easy smile on their lips. 
The overnight bus to Don Det was simple- although when simplicity occurs I think you become even more nervous as a traveler as you quickly scan every possibility for a scam or potential complication, in any case, we arrived at Si Phon Don in the morning and boarded one of Laos' dodgiest small boats. Having chosen one of the smaller islands we were worried that being so far from anywhere would lead to boredom, however upon setting our dirtied feet on the warm smooth sands of the island we knew instantly that we were where we wanted to be- heaven! 
Dumping our humps in the nearest bamboo hut we could find (it had to meet a couple of tough criteria though- hammocks, mosquito net and deck that was facing the sunset) we allowed our ears to be our guide and found the place that was to become our second home- the Happy Bar. The happy bar had a simple philosophy... come and be happy or don't. The two men 'Patrice and Izzy' who were running the bar had that West Indian vibe that made you wanna smile even as you approached... "Hey lady, you wanna come and join us for an afternoon, just come and relax... chill mon". The reggae subletly grew throughout the day and after hours of relaxing in the sun, reading your book and making random chit chat with the fellow travelers, you soon found yourself in a place that was pumping with good vibes and happy dance moves from the rastas!
Over the course of 7 days we worked on our tans, read a lot of books, discussed the ups and downs of the world with randoms who became friends, became inspired by fellow travelers who were living the dream and had set up their own organic cafe 'Veggie Patch' and played a lot of games. (I won most of them- obviously.) In addition, we consumed our first coconuts, saw the waterfalls, went on a bike ride and played a bit of pool with our friends Dag and Joel- the swedish boys (again, we won.)
After a period of a week it truly felt that we were part of the community. The Laos people are good natured and friendly in the cities, but here they were beyond that- their smiles were contagious and you felt safe and welcomed by them. The bare foot kids run around half naked and laughing in delight over the most trivial things. The women work hard, all through the day and night, never uttering a complaint but always having a quick laugh at any mishap that seems to befall their male partners (I liked their attitudes). Many of the males were fishermen, each day you would see a sprinkling of fishermen on their boats, casting our their large, circular nets and dragging them back in to see what they had caught. By sunset however, the boats would slowly amble in right up the river to the front of our deck. It was these moments, as the sun grew heavier and sank like a large red ball beyond the horizon that you felt like you were in paradise. You would hear the faint splash of the water as the nets were cast, you could see the sleek silhouettes of the fishermen on the ends of their wooden boats and the sky would turn into a myriad of reds, oranges, pinks and purples. It was breathtaking- every night! 
Life was tough in the hammock, it was by no means an easy week and we felt that we had given it our all when we finally packed our humps and trudged on outta there. We said our heartfelt goodbyes to Patrice and Izzy (Who we hope to meet again in Koh Chang), Tom and Karla, Dodgy Dr Pat, (who was not a doctor but ran the only pharmacy on the island which interestingly enough sold cigerettes and alcohol), Mr Hat and Mr Vixay. As the embers of the previous nights full moon party slowly died out we bobbed on back in our boat to the mainland and both wished that we could have stayed there forever.  

Comments

1

Hey I think we were in Don Det at teh same time and went to one of Izzy and Patrice's parties in the Island with mr Wat and stayed in the bungalows at the happy bar :)
Did you get any contact details from them by any chance?

  Dom Mar 8, 2011 4:24 AM

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