We’ve been off the grid for the last few days, riding the Khammuan loop around Khammuan province, central Laos.
And I’m coming to the conclusion that Laos, especially during the rainy season, is one of the most consistently beautiful countries on this earth.
There are gothic pinnacles of blackened karst. Reflecting pools below scalloped limestone caves, their folds concealing hundreds of Buddhas hidden from the invading Thais and forgotten for almost two centuries.
The rainy season means Laos is full of life. Half the countryside turns out to fish with four pronged nets in the new pools, hunting catch that’s escaped the confines of the paddy fields to breed. Silvery fish flirt around the rotting roots of the ghostly conifers that dams have killed.
At the village of Tha Bak, local ingenuity made boats from the leavings of the American planes that dropped more tonnes of explosive on this tiny nation than every combatant dropped in all of World War II. They loiter, like slim silver sharks, on the swollen river.
And, even in the rainy season clouds, children herd buffalo along the roads. The sticky rice that keeps the country running shines luminescent green, beside farmers’ huts, their shape, like so much else in rural Laos, unchanged for many centuries.
And all this before we explore the underground river.
I’m participating in Photo Friday, over at Delicious Baby. Head over there for more pictures from around the world.