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The Land That Forgets Time

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PAKSE, LAOS – The official name of this country is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, or Lao PDR. Everything in Laos happens at an extremely relaxed pace, and it’s been suggested by more than one person that PDR actually stands for Please Don’t Rush. Any time you’re given will usually translate as “eventually”. Forget trying to plan a definite ETA because the departure time will be anything from ten minutes before the stated time to three hours after it. If you’re lucky.

I’ve been in Southeast Asia long enough to know that the best laid plans don’t always (or usually) go the way you’d want. However, even I was getting very frustrated while waiting for a little over an hour just to leave Don Det yesterday, and then having to contend with what looked like a very disorganised assignment of buses once back on the mainland. It seems that despite all my time in this region so far, there’s still a lot I need to learn about expectations and patience.

The annoyance was compounded by my own foolish overindulgence the previous evening after realising that a Khmer family owned one of the restaurants on the northern tip of Don Det. This led to us all conversing and then drinking into hours way too wee. It was a fun evening, but one that I paid for in spades by getting crammed into an already stacked to the ceiling minibus for the trip north. It was a short trip, to be sure, but a far from comfortable one.

I’m still waiting for a decent Internet connection that will be speedy enough to let me upload photos. So far, even going to websites has been an exercise in patience. Fortunately, I can update Facebook and Twitter and this blog by email, which is how I’m posting this now.

Where I’m staying now is just to the west of the Bolaven Plateau, the major coffee-growing region in Laos. Given that I’m a bit of a fan of the bean, I think I’ll have to take a look up there before continuing on.

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