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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Island Life: 4000 Islands

LAOS | Friday, 22 June 2007 | Views [891]

Don Det is one of over 4000 little islands spread throughout the Southern Mekong region of Laos, the area where the Mekong spreads to it's widest section, just along the border of Cambodia. Island is a relative term, some island are merely small clumps of bush. Don Det was a big enough Island to house a slew of accommodations - thatched roof bamboo bungalows clinging to the slope-side, around the northern tip of the island, spanning both sunrise and sunset cliffs. Island life is really slow, and we were more than ready to plant ourselves in a hammock, learn to slow down, and just chill here. The island, aside from the backpacker digs, restaurants and local stilted family huts, is mostly farm land that in the process of being prepped for the wet rice season. Out the back window of our bamboo hut, we watch a local family toils away day and night to ready their rice paddies. Mom and Dad were both out with trading shifts with their water buffalo and wooden/metal constructed manual rotatiller apparatus, methodically trudging through the thick mud to churn the fields. They start even before the sun rises, at the calls of the first early morning roosters. The rooster behind our hut has a big defect in it's vocal mechanism- either it's a physical defect, or a big grass ball lodged in it's throat. It's messed up cock-a-doodle-doo in the morning has us waking up in hysterics each day - that in addition to the cow that has the funniest moo we've ever heard - it sounds like a high pitched frog with high pitched gurgles. The fields were transformed before our eyes over the course of three days. Women en masse hurriedly transplanted long green strands of rice in small clumps, submerging them into the square plots in geometric patterns into the square plots of flooded muddy lots. The final work of art - brilliant green strands emerge from reflective pools, shimmering like sequence in a patchwork quilt, that blankets the interior of the island for as far as we can see. We seek refuge from the heat in a hammock, perched on the over-hang deck of Mama Than On's Restaurant and Guesthouse. Mama bubbles with hospitality, like an Italian grandmother. She shuffles us in and directs us to lounge in a hammock overlooking the muddy brown river There's not an ounce of wind to be found to cool us off, so we order up a couple of banana shakes to chill out. it's so hot and humid here, there's not much to do but just sit still and try to keep cool. The only electricity in town is turned on between the hours of 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm, so if you paid for a room with a fan (we did- all $3 of our room rate), you're sure to be back in time to soak up a bit of wind, or hit up a cafe/bar that also has a fan, and gulp down some cool beers that have been chilling on big blocks of ice, that by this time, are near melted from the heat of the day. For us, Island life is a bit of a shock, having been constantly on the go now for months, and is just what we needed to learn how to relax... because any energy exerted in this climate is sweat out immediately, and would drain us... so we are held captive and activity-less by the heat and humidity - a good excuse to really relax, and rest our weary, travel-worn bodies.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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