“Where will he loose his wallet today?” – this was the question in my head when I woke up this morning, turning to look at Cloudio that was soundly asleep. By the time he passed his morning grumpiness and we got ready it was already 9am. In the meantime, the hotel folks moved our scooter in the outside patio and the helmets had disappear. The Frenchy at Miss Noy rental service did a better job than yesterday, providing us with a second scooter that seems in good order and better helmets than the day before.
Claudio and I agreed to get some extra cash before leaving Pakse, because there are those legends than in the Bolaven Plateau there’s nothing: no ATMs, no gas stations, no Internet… that all proved of being just legends. So I moved to the ATM opposite to Miss Noy, and tried unsuccessfully of withdraw money. It was just matter of a few minutes, but enough for Cloudio to disappear. “Did you see my friend?” I ask the Frenchy. but he replied with a laugh. There’s a simple single rule to follow when driving with someone:
if you loose your partner, just go back to the last place you saw each other and wait.
But Claudio is a solo traveler, so I waited and waited and waited with no sign of him. “If you see my friend, tell him I’m going to Tad Lo” I tell the Frenchy that is pleased to see two Italians lost in Pakse. I start driving and after few minutes the law of attraction, the power of visualization and the natural attraction of a jedi knight for his padawan made me found him on a side of the road, visibly confused. Now, I know it will sound like I keep bashing on him, but really I’m reporting the facts and I’m sure he agrees: we started driving on the opposite direction, following a suspicious sign saying VENTIANE. In fact, 20km down a dusty highway full of roadworks he realized there’s something wrong. The right way was I was heading when I found him earlier on…
That road was very nice and enjoyable, passing across curious little villages with a mix of wooden stilt houses and colorful mansions.
In front of the Dao coffee industry, that wasn’t exactly like the coffee producer I visited in Salento – Colombia, we stopped for a great cup on Vietnamese coffee, really delicious with its chocolate flavor! This was my first coffee after the coffee enemas during the detox in Pai… and could not be a better restart than this.
But more coffee if ahead of us, in fact on the road to Tad Lo we visit Vieng’s Coffee, a nice organic producer with tasting. For 10.000 Kip (less than 1€) we got served the equivalent of three espresso cups, prepared with Italian moka pots!
Today is Cloudio’s birthday, but the news doesn’t trigger any emotion on the already happy Laotian girl grinding Arabic grains for our next coffee. Highly recommended place, great hammocks, nice complimentary bananas and roasted peanuts (all locally grown!) but I wasn’t impress by the coffee itself.
In Tad Lo
145Km after leaving Pakse we reached our destination. Tad Lo seems an anonymous place, but after some turns we got to a road reaching the Tad Lo waterfalls (Tad means waterfalls!) full of guest houses and Frenchies. We check few of them (the guest houses). They range from 50.000 Kip to 60.000 Kip and are all nice, but we choose Sailomyen guesthouse. It has no internet, but the beautiful view on the Sayset river, where we jump soon after leaving our backpacks, the nice bungalow and five puppies made it up for it big time.
Did I mention Internet already? Well, there are no many options in Tad Lo. We ended up in Tim’s guesthouse that provides a fast connection for 10.000 Kip unlimited (wi-fi) or 400 Kip/minute using their computers. Did I mention Internet already? I found this afternoon an interesting project. It’s the Tadlo Computer Education Center (TCEC), run by a German volunteer based organization. They accept volunteers for a minimum of three months, to teach Laotian kids about information technology three times a week. It seems interesting, maybe something for the future? It’s almost the end of Cloudio’s birthday so let me offer him a beer, but only if he’ll claim it after reading my report 🙂 Photo album: