Three long journeys under rain and cold from Nong Khiaw but finally Belén and I arrived to Thakhek, the first big town in the South of Laos. The town itself was not very interesting, just a town at the Mekhong riverside, but in the surroundings there were several caves to visit and beautiful karst landscape. Once we properly rested in a hostel at the town’s outskirts we rented a motorbike to do part of a recommended 3-days-loop.
It had rained a lot the last days and the roads were muddy. Motorbikes we could afford would get stuck on the slopes and the mud could damage the engine or the chain. Additionally we were running out of time since my visa expires in one week, so finally we decided to do only one day of the Thakhek loop and see whatever we had time. Unfortunately we couldn’t reach one of the most beautiful places, Kong Lo Cave (Tham Kong Lo), that must be visited by boat since a river crosses it.
In one of the caves-temple which we visited, Tham Xang, we had one of those bad experiences I described before about Laotians. There were 4 people not doing anything else other than charge a fee to the tourists coming (well, one person was charging and the other 3 were just looking). With the entrance was also included the possibility of hiking up a cliff with a nice viewpoint but if you didn’t want to go there you didn’t have to pay that part (as per a sign in the entrance). We didn’t go up because the access was hidden and we didn’t find it so we asked for the money back. They suddenly went mad yelling us I don’t know what kind of nonsense in Laotian and looking at us with such a disdain face that I was flipping out. Finally some guys show us the way for going up, but we had the right to ask for the money back and those people shouldn’t behave like vermin. I’m not violent at all but I can tell you that those people deserve somebody beats the crap out of them. One can be poor not being a moron.
When we came back the next day Mr. Wang, the motorbike shop’s owner, told us that the day before a western girl (from Austria I reckon) was attacked in a lagoon where we were that day. She was alone and a couple of teenagers hit her back with a big stick and stole her motorbike and her bag. They police found the guys with the things of the girl and beat them badly. 10 years of jail. Here they don’t think about anything twice… Mr. Wang said that Lao people are not like that, those teenagers were studying in Thailand, bad people… I can’t believe my ears… What the fuck had to do oranges with apples?