Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Re-visiting the past...

Do you believe in déjà vu? It seems to be happening to me more and more these days. And especially this past month... It seems like everywhere I go I recognise parts of it, and sometimes I even know what is going to happen...

This is probably caused by the fact that I have indeed been to most of these places before... A very unsettling experience for someone that has been thriving on novel and unknown places for the last two years almost...



On with the story anyway....

So myself and Allan did our little road trip, heading north to the Gold Coast (been there before) via Giraween national park (been there before...). We met up with some of my friends and some of his friends in Brisbane, and generally had a good time... We then headed south back to Sydney via Byron Bay (been there... you get the idea...).

Road trip over we spent a couple of days in Sydney, most of which I spent repairing the van from Allans over zealous driving, and then flew over to Bangkok...

I like Thailand... I like it a lot... We didn't spend very long there though. One day in Bangkok (where we saw no sign of the troubles that are so widely reported in the news), then a train to Nong Kai, one day in Nong Kai; we went to the statue park there, which hadn't changed much since the last time I was there (before and after). Still well worth a visit though. Then we crossed over the border into Laos.

In Laos we spent a couple of days in Vientiane, which was nice. They have some nice temples there, and we got to see a buddhist monk baptism... or something like that. What I like about Laos (well, one of the things) is the baguettes, a hangover from the French colonisation, so we ate lots of sandwiches here.

After Vientiane we travelled north to Vang Vieng. This is a traveller mainstay on the Laos circuit, and as such hadn't changed even slightly in the 4 years since the last time I'd been there. Even to the extent that all the bars had exactly the same identical menus and even had the same Friends DVDs running on loops... One thing that was different was that my sister was there!

Another thing that had changed was the tubing experience... This is an essential part of the Vang Vieng experience (except for Allan who missed it due to feeling "a bit ill"). When i did it 4 years ago it was a simple experience, drifting down the river, visiting a few bars, enjoying the scenery... Now the top end of the river has turned into a resort style place! Bars either side of the river, pumping out music, and huge swings and slides for drunken travellers to abuse... It was quite fun, but I can't help but feel that part of the point of floating down the river has been erased... Here is the before and after pics...

After the hedonism of Vang Vieng it was quite nice to visit Luang Prabang again. Not much had changed here (before and after) but it was still a beautiful city, and a nice place to spend a couple of days... Worth noting was the Royal Palace, which I hadn't visited before...

After a couple of days in Luang Prabang it was time to move on. We took the slow boat to Huay-Xai on the Thai border. This trip took two days, with a stop-over in Pak Beng. Pak Beng was exactly as I left it 4 years ago (before and after).

One night in Huay-Xai and we crossed the border into Thailand. Some immigration checks and we were free to find our bus out of there. We took a bus to Chiang Mai from the border. A six hour journey, which was reasonably comfortable. It was nice being back in Thailand again, and able to go into 7-11 and buy snack foods without being ripped off.

Of course Chiang Mai is the biggest source of déjà vu. I have spent over 6 weeks in Chiang Mai, all told, and really like it here. If there is one place that I could see myself living outside the UK it is here. We vsited my friend Jangiraj, and discovered that I am used as a model in her advertising! We bumped into an old friend that Nam and myself knew from a farm in Australia, and had some drinks with him.

We also visited an elephant camp, and Doi Suthep (before and after).

Which brings us pretty much up to date. The next plan is to head south and re-visit Koh Tao, where hopefully I will find it similar to how I left it (one of the most beautiful places I have ever been).

Until next time....

1 comment:

namrin said...

I think it's dejavu that you have. it's a GOOD memory that's what ppl call LOL

I really like Laos trip. Tubing is really the highlight.

Jangira is friendly and good massage from her place we've got :-)

Note: Your "huge swing" isn't show the right photo. Pls check