There is less than 400 km to reach Vientiane from Luang Namtha, but I know I will need at least 2 days because it is anly mountain roads. Equiped with my Laos map and some basic sentences in Lao, I start to hitchhike at the exit of the town. The environment protection manager of the city offers me a ride, and it’s the beginning of new adventures. Despite some misunderstanding (some people wanting me to pay them), I meet unexpected people: fruits and vegetable sellers for who I load dozens of bags of bamboo sprouts collected by a whole village or an English guy working for an animal protection NGO who bought 7 endangered turtles on a local market to release them in the forest !
I spend a short night in Luang Prabang, just having a quick look at the night market. I end up in Vang Vieng the next day, where I randomly meet Pong who invites me to drink whiskey with his friends. He even offers me to host me and bring me around the rice fields the next day. It is the occasion to test my skills planting rice with the Lao women! We then go in the forest to gather bamboo sprouts and young fennel for lunch. Pong is a great cook and I am impressed by his capacity to cook a meal only with what he collect in the forest and the garden. We spend the afternoon fishing with his friends, cooking our catch on a barbecue and drinking lao-lao (local whiskey). We cook the rest of the fishes in a soup for dinner. Amazing food!
I leave the next day to reach Dreamtime, a ecofriendly resort outside Vientiane where I am planning to work some time…