When I undertook my travel in South East Asia I had no idea how Laos could be as Country, what I knew was that I did want to visit it.
As soon as I arrived I was enshroud by a warm and friendly atmosphere. I was coming from Thailand and at a first glance the environment was not that different, but the atmosphere given by locals and their culture reminded me that I was in Laos.
There in a little frontier village on the river Mekong I had just started appreciating the culture of one of the most beautiful Countries i ever visited.
It was afternoon when I arrived, the sun was still shining and the village was desolate. However, following the sun set people gathered together in the main and only road of this little village. Soon the monotony of the dark color of the night was broken by sparkling barbecues popping up along the road. Like a big family people shared their food (delicious stakes), and so suddenly the new place became more familiar.
Of course, I was hungry, I had had a really long day. Surrounded by such a joy atmosphere and delicious smell a stake was the only possible choice.
While I was having my stake I got on with a couple of backpackers like me. By the time of few beers we found ourselves amid locals, it was nice, we could not understand each other but it did not matter, we were all people with the joy of sharing something more than a mere stake. They offered us some fresh water clams with a hot local sauce.
I could feel a friendly and magical atmosphere that night, something I have never felt in any western Countries I’ve ever been to.
Going on with my travel I could notice that barbecue is part of the Laotian culture, they barbecue every-time, everyday, i had often stake as breakfast delighted by the kindness and quietness of locals. People in Laos are really calm, even too much sometimes.
It might take ages before you can order your food at the restaurant, generally waiters abandoned themselves in private conversations as if the time did not exist. There is no rush, no anxiety in their daily lives. You will alway be welcome in their humble houses, no matter who you are and where you are from.
In Laos you will not find big and globalized cities, you will find little isolated villages on your way. It will not take long before you realize that people there live off of land rather than of money. They farm the land to live but do not live to farm. All they need is a piece of land and so land is an issue.
What struck me most about Laos was the exploitation of the land by locals. You could clearly recognize entire piece of forest cut-down and set up on fire for agricultural purposes. It was a sad view for a sensitive and lover person for nature like me, but it was and still something understandable. It was my first personal contact with the contemporary phenomena of deforestation, and so an experience.