Monday, 31 October 2011

China vs Laos

Location: under a coconut tree, by the Mekong River, Laos
Weather: morning warm breeze
Total mileage: 24,300
Status: passed relaxed, nearly lazy

There’re too many Chinese in China. They’re small, annoying, get tangled in ones hair and get caught in your feet.

They only want to have a nice life – though they don’t really have any meaning – but for the time being they destroy their culture, nature and those basic morals that are so important, especially while looking for a meaning.

They smoke, spit and shit literally everywhere and find it particularly fun to litter their rivers. Then they never wash their little dirty hands, including after blowing their little noses through their little fingers. It’s very hard for them to say “let me check it” when they can simply say “no!” and creative thinking must be avoided or they’ll end up in a dungeon deep under a mountain.

Good things about China #1: They do work hard 

And they have their generals. Sneaky generals, who move pieces on the map while plotting in secret bunkers how to take over this world. They don’t like foreigners driving around in their dictatorship, sniffing around. All foreigners are, surely, western spies trying to poison their peoples’ minds with stories about other parts of the world, where human beings can actually live more freely. No; they must not let that happen.

So because we want to get from Mongolia to Laos, we need to drive through China. To drive through China we need to have a personal guide, certified by the Party, sitting in our car, over our heads, telling us where we’re allowed to drive and where we are not. The spies who got caught, great way to travel. In addition we’re limited in time – must respect the itinerary, must be in a certain place at a certain time. Yes indeed: annoying and getting caught between our feet.

Good things about China #2: Yunnan people, though they're not actually Chinese

China used to be a great place. A long time ago palaces were built, great walls and temples, for the benefit of the people. But today those sites are surrounded by newer, higher walls and fences, so no one can enter without paying the extortionate fee. But it’s not too bad because locals are no longer interested in temples or other spiritualism when instead they can go to the shopping malls to photograph themselves.

But we’re not in China anymore. Now we’re in Laos. And the Lao people are great and we can do anything we want.

And so, we’re doing everything we want: days of off road driving through jungles and mud; finding an ancient site that was left forgotten for 2000 years; wild camping by the waterfalls; trekking for 2 days to visit a mountain tribe – the wonderful Khmu people. Rock climbing, kayaking, dark stalactite caves, loads of tropical fruit shakes and finally – millions of pancakes with banana, coconut and Nutella.

Good things about China #3: Laos is just across the border

And there’s also no time pressure in Laos. I can get up in the morning, stretch in front of a mountain, have a slow breakfast and play Bach on the guitar again, ‘Air’ in C major. And there’s surely enough time to chill out, relax, and write to the blog too.
So I’m chilling out, relaxing and writing.

Look people, the world is beautiful. True, some parts are better than others and some are truly rubbish and lack heart. Like China. But eventually, if you keep on and don’t give up, you’re guaranteed to get out of the shit. If you’re prepared to go even further you may find a hidden paradise just around the next corner. Like Laos. That is – evidently – worth it all.     

Go and travel.

Jen & Noam

Good things about China #4: Leave it and have some fun in Laos

Good things about China #5: Enjoy some flavour after Mongolia

Good things about China #6: Street food

Good things about China #6: More street food

Good things about China #7: The mountains have less Chinese, though it is actually Tibet (which is not really in China)

Good things about China #8: Tiger Leaping Gorge trek is not (yet) over-developed

Good things about China #9: Animal cruelty is not always good for the business
Good things about China #10: Start early in the morning, before the streets get too crowded 

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you are progressing on your journey. We loved the Yunnan Province & its people in China too! We are now home in NZ & hope you make it as far as here!