For two weeks we are now in Laos . We are very happy that there is so less traffic, a beautiful landscape with green forest and a relaxed way to cycle. Along the road there are many small villages, the cottages made of bamboo. Some women produce awsome colourful clothes with an old weaving loom. People are rather poor, but they are very friendly. In the morning and in the evening fishermen try to catch fish on narrow bamboo boats, with cast nets or smaller harpoons. The villages are sometimes so small that is very difficult to organize food. Only cookies and some soft drinks, this is what we most of the time have for lunch. We cycled from the border first to Urumxai, then North-East to Muang Khua. From there we took three times a boat (with our bikes and our luggage), because Astrid had big problems with the insane heat between 12 and 3 pm and the humidity and she had to relax herself. In a few weeks rainy season will start so it will become cooler.
Since May 24th we are now in Luang Prabang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luang_Prabang), the former capital of the „Kingdom of the million elefants“.
It is a very beautiful city, in high season too many tourists, but we are now in low season. Many backpackers, especially from France, are here, too. The houses are very marvellous, the majority in Colonial style. You see no rubbish on the street, bad sidewalks or unfinished buildings (as for example in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, where we spend more than four months). It is not only the lack of money, it is the mentality and the motivation, in which enviroment you want to live.
Laos is still a very poor country and here are many aid organisations, i.e. GIZ, USAID, World Vision, Red Cross. China has a big influence and invests a lot, especially in road construction and power stations.
Laos people are hardworking but not as the Chinese. Live and let live is the attitude of Laos people.