Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wow did Don Det (the best island to chill in the 4000 Islands or Si Phan Don in Laos) ever rock (at least for me)! Cuz found it was the first place on this Trip where I could actually chill as started to really enjoy myself like I love doing when traveling!

There must be some kind of rule in Laos that says the further south you go the more chill it becomes cuz just when you thought your blood pressure couldn’t drop any further you arrive in Si Phan Don… The name means ‘Four Thousand Islands’ and the few islands you are likely to visit on this scenic 50km-long stretch of the Mekong are so chilled that you could turn into a hammock-bound icicle! lol

Hell during the rainy season this section of the Mekong fills out to a breadth of 14km which is the river’s widest point along its 4350 km journey from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. But during the dry months between monsoons the river recedes and leaves behind hundreds (or thousands if you count every sand bar) of islands and islets. The largest of the permanent islands are inhabited year round and offer the cool glimpses of tranquil river-oriented village life – ‘more detached from time than from the riverbank’ as how someone described it. Hell most communities tend to be self-sufficient, growing most of their own rice, sugar cane, coconut and vegetables, catching fish and weaving textiles as needed.

Seems that the Island life is changing as electricity and tourism are the big drivers. The villages of Si Phan Don are often named for their position at the upriver or downriver ends of their respective islands. The upriver end is called hǔa (head), the downriver end is called hǎang (tail). Hence Ban Hua Khong is at the northern end of Don Khong, while Ban Hang Khong is at the southern end.

The ferry from the mainland usally takes to Don Det unless U specify another island like Don Khong! But Don Det is a bit more lively than Don Khong (which attracts travellers looking for better accommodations) while Don Det has become kind of one of SE Asia’s major backpacker magnets! Don Khon falls somewhere in between. It seems that the power grid isn’t all that great tho getting better but wtf it didn’t seem the electricity went off too often while I was there! 

If U want to read more about the 4000 Islands check:

Hell Don Det used to be a real off the beaten track place only five to ten years ago. So even still today you won't find the same crowds here as in, for example Vang Vieng (thx god) so tens of guest houses can now be around in once well kept secret. The installation of electricity supply is now complete, so Don Det has 24 hour electrical service. But unfortunately this will most likely lead to increasingly more services and development.

Hell Don Det is somewhat of a mecca for backpackers and is often compared with the much less relaxing Vang Vieng. Backpackers, mostly in their 20s and 30s, come to this island to relax. Some stay a day or two, some for weeks & a few have decided to stay for good. Hell met one American dude who married a chick from Laos and has opened a sandwich or whatever type shop! Unfortunately tho talked to the dude well never ate there cuz too expensive but hear it was good!

So my bus took me to this Say Don bus station in the small village on the other side of the river where we caught a boat to Don Det! Shit it was so chaotic when we first arrived as it depended on which bus company U came on that decided which boat U took to Don Det or which ever Island U wanted to go!

While was waiting for a boat across met a Finnish guy and we kind of hung out at Don Det for a few days! But the first order of the day was finding cheap accommodations! But no prob as rooms at most guest houses cost from 20,000 kip & up as most bungalow have the basic requirements like a porch with a hammock, a bed and a mosquito net.

Hell when first got there wow realized just how chill this island was so thought I’m finally at the type of place where always look for when traveling!

We wanted to get as far as possible away from where the boats came in and where all the bars, restuarants and noise was happening so we could chill in quiet! So we walked down down the main path in Don Det out of the main part of town! We got about a couple hundred meters down the path and over a small dilapidated wooden bridge! Then this big older type of American dude (shit can’t remember his name) approached us to check if we wanted a room? But there was only one room open as the place only had 4 rooms in that Guesthouse called Vishet’s Bungalow! Bit there were 2 of us so the Finnish guy said would go to another Bungalow while I took the open room with a shower for about 20,000 Kip or say about $5!! Found out this American dude was kinda helping the Lao owners cuz they couldn’t speak very good English which would help to get new guests! So hell when he left well I took over helping them cuz got to be friendly & really liked the Laos couple who ran the place! But wtf they only had 4 rooms which shouldn’t take long to fill! They also had a restuarant which sold Lao meals and it seemed a lot of Locals came there to eat, drink and just chat there!! Hell must have ate all my breakfasts at their restaurant as it was cheap plus got to know the owners really well so wanted to help them out! Of course the owner happened to also be my supplier of weed as he was cool! So I’d go and hang around the café/restaurant and sit on the hammock by the river! Or would chill on my patio in my own hammock! Cuz regardless the main activity on the island was chilling on a hammock doing what I do best and that’s doing fuck all!!!

I had met this Indian dude on the other side of the river b4 taking the boat from Don Det & he told me he ran Jasmine Indian Rest on Don Det and should go there! So had to go & try the curry at the Jasmine Indian restaurant. The food there was pretty dam amazing and once again in Laos feel like could eat in a curry house every single night of my stay in a town. The only downside of the Jasmine restaurant was that it took a minimum of an hour to get any food. So eventually got around this by working out when was was most probably going to feel hungry and going there an hour beforehand to pre-order. So generally only had to wait 30 minutes b4 our food to arrive when we came back. The place was packed every single night there as was the best dam eatery in town! Hell can only imagine what additional profits they would have made if they they speed up the cooking process.

Then next to Jasmine Curry House was the Reggae Bar which would become the main joint that hung out to spend most of my time in Don Det as chilled out on the cushions there while having the odd beer but mostly just smoking weed & drinking water! But it was so fuckin chill as had hammocks to chill on and pillows & low tables to hang around! There was also a board to dive / jump into the river in the bar!!! Hell must have spent every day there just chillin, reading and socializing with other travellers! So got to be friendly with a few Swedes, Finnish and couple North Americans, etc. There was also Adam’s Bar next door which also sold ganja drinks, pizzas & showed movies so could chill there! But found the place a bit claustrophobic as the deck was small and crowded so didn’t hang out there often but did buy a cool shirt there as kind of reminded me of Don Det!!! 

Hell the place I was staying was cool to hang out at as spoke to the American Guy as he seemed to have been there for about 3 or 4 months! Think he had an apt outside BKK as he disliked living in the US as do a lot of Americans that meet overseas! Heck don’t blame them cuz if I were an American hell I get my ass out of there too cuz figure that place is just a country of Gun Toting Religious Fanatics!!!

It seemed most nights there were parties on the beach so a few nights I’d wander down there. Cuz some times there was a DJ playing lots of tracks as everyone chilled and sat in the sand drinking beer. It was a lot of fun and (maybe cuz we were far enuf away from the mainland) we were all able to drink away until 3am even tho the bars and restaurants closed at 10 pm a Laos law! It was probably the only time on Don Det that maybe a party went on so late! lol When I went to use their toilet I noticed that some people had remained in the main bar there and were singing some very bad karaoke. Thank hell that shit was drowned out by the DJ on the beach!!!

But had to remember the reason I was hanging out for so long at Don Det/4000 Islands & that was to meet up with J! So I’d check online quite often to see when or if J was coming to meet me in Don Det / 4000 Islands as we had planned! But had to wait a while to get an email saying that J was hanging out some village in central Laos but would be coming! 

So I’d hang out at the Reggae Bar most of the day meeting all the cool chill peep! Met a bunch of Israelis who seemed to be there most every day playing chess, having a beer and of course smoking weed! It was funny cuz one day a couple of the Israeli's were playing chess and smoking weed of course! So 3 or 4 of us were watching (prob more just chilling there than watching) them play but fuk the game was so dam slow like it had been like 30 mins that we were waiting for one of them to make a move! But what was funny was everyone was so stoned that no one knew who's turn it was as I asked them who's move is it? So one guy said it was the other guy while the other guy thought it was the other guy's move!!! Fuk a Russian standoff as they would have prob sat there the rest of the day if I hadn't asked them cuz each guy was waiting for the other to move - the fuking douchebag stoners! LOL  

What was cool was got to became a kind of a friend of one of the Israeli's who had made a cool Bamboo Bong which he let me use quite often as we hung out at the Reggae Bar! Well after a week or so the Israelis left Don Det and the dude gave me his Bamboo Bong! Hell what sucked was got his email address but accidently deleted it from my phone so didn’t have a way to keep in touch and thank him!! So I used the Bamboo Bong for another about week as shared it with other peep met there at the Reggae Bar! Then when I left Don Det I donated it to the Reggae Bar for anyone’s use! The funny thing was the day b4 leaving Don Det most peep smoke up or get rid of all their weed cuz the Cambodian border is only about a hr from Don Det & didn’t want to have any hassles at the border! Also most peep feel why take a sandwich/weed to a banquet which Cambodia is cuz they have their share of weed so no need to bring any into the country!

Hell was really enjoying my stay on Don Det cuz it was so chilled and met so many cool peep to hang out with that prob could have stayed there for months but hell had to remember that was meeting up with J to carry on traveling to Cambodia!! But hell was really getting into the life style on the Island as thought that Don Det / 4000 Islands was the most chilled place I had ever been to in the otherwise boring mainland SE Asia! Tho thought Cambodia was very cool and fun when I had gone there a few years b4! But still felt that Don Det matched and was a lot more chill and interesting to hang out than even the Cambodia I visited a few years b4! But Don Det didn’t have the same edge, excitement, danger that Cambodia had b4 ie peep carrying guns and even using them in broad day light! So had to keep reminding myself just why & how long I was hanging out there!

Anyway waited about 10 days until J finally came and found me in the Reggae Bar! Hell was excited and happy to see J again! But the feeling didn’t seem mutual as all J told me was traveling with 2 American guys but wtf most peep meet & end up travelling to Don Det cuz hell that’s why we travel which is to meet cool interesting peep! But what kinda sucked was J didn’t seem so cool about hanging out with me but was more interested in hanging with new friends which was OK! I had checked out Don Det and the neighboring island Don Khong with a friend b4 as thought it was cool to see! So when J and the 2 Americans asked what there was to do on Don Det well suggested checking out Don Khong! But shit thought most peep after being on Don Det for 5 mins could figure out just what peep do there - chill, smoke weed and hang out meeting other peep chilling! But the 2 guys were typical Americans as they were a bit paranoid and didn’t seem to indulge like moi or others but seemed to be more into the sauce which they spoke about frequently! Which seemed strange cuz couldn’t figure out why J a stoner like me would be hanging out with a bunch of juicers!

But the 4 of us did go to check out Don Khong as we rented bikes and went to a waterfall to hang out and have a drink to chill! Also did go in the water at one of the waterfalls which was cool! So by the time we were getting back to Don Det it was getting dark! So we ran into some locals celebrating something and they invited us to join them which we did! But the 2 American guys didn’t stay long cuz they didn’t seem to mix in too well! While J & I were sharing some drinks of whatever they were shit faced on and dancing! Hell the older Lao women who were quite pissed and the Lao guys were playing the music and supplying the drinks! When J and I left them we were feeling quite good as we walked back to town! Dam it felt good to kind of party and hang out with J again as we talked and walked back! But that was probably actually the last time the 2 of us hung out until the end of our trip!

Later that evening I went to the Reggae Bar as I usually did prob every evening cuz it was probably the best place for a single person like me who enjoyed smoking and meeting cool peep to hang out and enjoy themselves! Well J and the Americans (ha ha sounds like a 60’s Pop Group) came in and started playing chess and horsing around! So we all seemed to enjoy ourselves as the place always had good vibes!

Then the next morning I wandered by the bungalow J was staying to see what they were doing and one of the Americans told me J was out checking buses to take to Cambodia! So I wandered down and guess J saw me so called me to join them at this restaurant! So somehow J and I managed to book ourselves on the same bus out of Dodge/Don Det for the next morning! Also wanted to book a flight from Cambodia to Philippines as had planned as we both still wanted to go! The reason we were going to Cambodia (even tho I had been there b4 & enjoyed the country was cuz there were no flights from Laos to Philippines or would have done that instead!) So in my research well the cheapest ticket I could get were tickets from Phnom Penh (in Cambodia) to Clark Field outside of Manila in the Philippines for about $300 USD (just bought us 1 way tickets) which although seemed expensive was the still the cheapest ticket could get was on Tiger Airways! But what sucked was that about a 1 ½ hr flt the way a crow would fly would take us 24 hrs by Tiger Airways! LOL Cuz our flight went from Phnom Phenh in Cambodia to Singapore (cuz Tiger Airways is based there) so would have to stay over night at Club Changi and the next morning take the flight on to the Philippines! But I didn’t mind cuz heard that Changi Airport aka as Club Changi cuz of it’s decadance & it also catered to pax who had to stay over night and continue their flight the next day – which we would be doing!

I was still busy on the computer as the restaurant cuz it had pretty good internet connection unlike the other 2 or 3 Internet cafes on the Island! So J went back to their bungalow while I headed to the Reggae Bar and J met up with me later with the 2 American guys!

Well it seemed the 2 Americans were brothers & they seemed nice but what really surprised me was they didn’t seem to be the type that J would hang out with but here was J following them around like a puppy dog! But who was I to care as it was J’s business not really mine! Cuz about then well was starting to think wtf are we even thinking about hanging out and traveling any more! Cuz it was oblvious that we weren’t enjoying each other’s company which really sucked cuz we were the best of friends back home which is why I asked J to join me on this trip! We got along so well as we both didn’t give a shit about anything but just enjoying ourselves which wasn’t seeming to be happening on this trip!

Anyway hung out at the bar as met up with a few of the other travellers there like I did everyday! When the Pop group of J and the Americans came to the Reggae Bar later well they kind of kept to themselves playing chess and talking! So I never did really get a chance to introduce them to the interesting travelers that I met hanging out there! Hell one of the Swedish guys was interesting cuz he was claimed to be the guy with the most allergies of anyone in Sweden according to a newspaper in Sweden! Hell he was allergic to almost everything from the sun, to water, etc. But what was interesting was when I was telling him when I was in Mali in Africa well I became violently allergic to the heat or something! So had to get the hell out of there to Lebanon cuz my allergies were bugging the shit out of me! Well he told me hell man U’r allergic to Ur sweat! Holy shit didn’t know U could be allergic to Ur sweat but it made sense cuz when ever I was in the hot sun well I would end up scratching myself crazy! But not knowing what it was well shit I went to my family doctor, an allergy doctor, a skin doctor, a tropical disease doctor and finally in desperation to a Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy who put me under hypnosis! But it all contributed to my knowledge to make me realize that none of them cured me of my ailment!! But when the Swedish dude told me that was probably allergic to my sweat wow it made a lot of sense!

So anyway would have been cool to have introduced J to the Swedish guys, a Swiss sheep herder who was going to Mongolia to work (as thought J might enjoy talking to him as J wanted to go to Mongolia to work while I wanted to go to Mongolia but not necessarily to work cuz they pay like fuck all there so why work??), a couple of Finnish peep, an American chick from North Cali who told me all about a Reggae Fest going on there in the summer which want to check out, a French dude who told me about Tonsai (a chill rock climbing beach village in Southern Thailand) and a few others I really wanted J to meet but oh well!  I did get a chance to introduce J to a young Vancouver kid who was nice! The reason I know is cuz think J ended up on the same bus out of Don Det as him cuz found out later that J changed and went to Siem Reap (so seems that J dumped the 2 American brothers so guess J figured hell they weren’t J’s type to hang out with as guess I wasn’t either but wtf shit happens lol) where J ended up staying for the rest of the trip but more on that later! So shit never really got a chance to introduce them cuz J and the Americans were too busy playing chess and keeping to them selves which was cool too as long as they enjoyed themselves!

Anyway the 2 Americans left the Reggae Bar while J hung around for awhile b4 also leaving the Reggae Bar in the afternoon! So at least J chilled enuf to smoke some weed but for a stoner didn’t do much cuz was kinda of paranoid or some thing or so it seemed! While I’d do the same shit regardless of where I am cuz don’t really drink but liked to smoke! But J did share a Ganja pizza with me at the Reggae Bar which was cool!! Anyway J told me that the 2 Americans had invited J to stay for free in Phonm Penh in Cambodia which kind of insinuated that J was doing one thing so guess I wasn’t included cuz wasn’t invited to stay with them! So that kind of sucked as it kind of hurt cuz the two of us talked about doing this trip and then after about 3 weeks of a 12 week trip well we separated and wouldn’t see or hang out anymore in SE Asia! Hell we hadn’t even gone to a beach yet or seen the Philippines (originally had thought of flying into Manila but thought might be cheaper to fly into and out of BKK which we did)! But what really sucked and troubled me for the rest of my trip was that was the last time J and I hung out on the trip until we met up in BKK just b4 our flight took us back to Vancouver!

But later was walking back to my bungalow as met this Chilean doctor chick who was staying in the room next to mine! Well J and the Americans (maybe off to play a Pop music gig LOL hell love that title!) were coming towards us but I didn’t even get to say hi as J shoved my sleeping bag (which J used on the Hill Tribe Trek and on the Terrace in Luang Prabang)! All J said was “I don’t want to carry YOUR Sleeping bag any longer but wtf J used it not me” but never got a chance to talk about who should carry it as I never got a chance to say a thing cuz was a bit stunned by the event and a bit stoned (would U believe quite stoned cuz why not as a person could get stoned on Don Det as it was all harmless plus never saw any cops or anyone hassling us not to smoke, drink or party while there cuz it’s super cool which is why loved hanging out there!!)

So went back to my bungalow to take a shower and then headed back to the Reggae Bar for the evening cuz wtf else did I do there?? But never saw J and the Americans that night or again even tho the next morning we were all planning to leave Don Det!

But that night I got super wrecked cuz like everyone leaving Don Det they usually smoke all their weed/stash or give their stash away! So since I was planning to leave Don Det in the morning well that night I smoked / shared most of my most of my stash (didn’t realize was going to leave the next day so had just bought a bunch of it the day b4 from my dealer the bungalow owner where I was staying!)!

Dam the next day wasn’t feeling too lively as kind of slept in! But wtf didn’t hurry cuz figured why even go on the same boat with J and the Americans cuz well they were staying in free accommodations in Phnom Penh (didn’t realize that J had changed destinations to go to Siem Reap so maybe we would have both gone to Philippines but hey given the time spent together in Laos maybe was best for both of us to enjoy ourselves) which meant that I wouldn’t be probably hanging out with them (not that I really cared given how J was acting towards me but hell it still sucked  but hell I believe in everyone doing what they want to do cuz when I travel don’t usually give a shit!!). But kinda later found a file that think J accidently left on my computer which really kinda of bothered me cuz every thing that J told me seemed liked so much BS! Hell J had written:

“i was suppose to go to phillipines, indonesia, borneo and south thailand, but since coming to siem reap, cambodia i have been having to good of a time--been here for one month and will stay till i leave---“. Also “well next time i will go to borneo, i had a ticket already paid to go to phillipines but just said fuck it, but i really wanted to go to borneo, seems so beautiful and wild, and not spoiled by tourists”!

Hell talk about feeding me a bunch of bull shit as J oblviously didn’t care if it bothered me or why leave the file on my computer as WILL NEVER FORGET READING THAT! Hell J had told me b4 that didn’t want to go to Borneo cuz was too conservative as lots of muslims but didn’t notice that when went there! But hell figure when someone does shit like that and kind of BS’s about it well that’s Bad Karma and will probably come back and affect them one day! Insha’allah 

Anyway didn’t make the boat as planned as didn’t hurry so missed it! But what really sucked was that day I had no more weed cuz smoke or had gotten rid of all mine! (dam had I turn into such a big Stoner as that??) But what was cool & another reason didn’t mind missing the boat was the Reggae bar was having a big all-day party on a random island outside of town so I decided to go. The boat was leaving around 11 am which I could make but like Reggae Bars all over the world there’s no accurate timing that’s strictly enforced! But glad decided to check it out cuz it was a lot of fun with lots of food, liquor and of course lots of weed as one dude kept rolling up some big ass spiffs (a joint which candy assed light weight weed smoking Europeans smoke with cannabis and tobacco tho dislike smoking them cuz the tobacco gives me a dam headache plus it so dam weak! Hell North Americans smoke straight weed and so what if we get fucking stoned cuz after all isn’t that why we smoke?? Jamacians call it a Spiff too but it’s usually only weed in the spiff!) Had seen or met most of the 30 peep in the Reggae Bar!

But thought should leave the next day since had plane tickets to go to the Philippines so better get my black ass over to Phonm Penh to spend a week in Cambodia b4 heading to the Philippines! So the day after J and the Americans left well left myself on the boat to the mainland and then on a 6 or 7 hrs bus ride to Phnon Penh!

Btw still didn’t have a camera to use so sorry but U’ll have to check out these pics of Don Det in the 4000 Islands! Yeah I know all the pics belong to some other dude but wtf U still get an idea of what the place looks like! LOL

Oh forgot but one day was playing with what I thought was my fuked up camera & wtf it worked so like I did take a couple pics while chilling in Don Det! So may include a couple of pics of moi!

So even tho had some downer times waiting and hanging with my friend J (who started this trip with lol) in Don Det. Well have to say that Don Det was such a real cool chill place that was probably the best and only chill place in S E Asia until went to Tonsai in southern Thailand but more about that later in my blog! LOL ! Another thing that really sucked was I got all these email / contact addresses of cool travellers met in Don Det who wanted to keep in touch with but shit I accidently deleted them from my phone! Hell was so dam pissed at myself for weeks cuz now wouldn’t have any way to contact them cuz shit I didn’t give them my email as said I’d email them and then they’d have mine! What a major fuk Up that was LOL!!!

No comments: