26.12.2016 - 26.12.2016 36 °C
Monday December 26
Breakfast was laid out in a similar fashion to Christmas dinner (on mats on the floor). It easily accommodated our large group, but some of us realized that our flexibility needs a bit of work!
Farewells to our home stay families, back to the beach and on to the same ferries (with the same comfy seating) as yesterday.
Back on land, we loaded onto a bus for a ride through Champasek Province which is called the sleepy province. It's a rural area where most of the residents are fishers and farmers. Actually, it is evident as you drive around the country that the main occupations of Laotians are fishing and farming.
We rode the bus to Wat Phu, the seat of power in the pre-Angkorian times (before Angkor Wat became the capital of the region). The site comprises development (now ruins) on 7 levels and we climbed to ‘heaven’ (the highest level) in intense heat and humidity. The kings in Laos are seen as god-kings, so the site has ruins of temples and a palace. The view from heaven was lovely, but we were relieved to get back to the air-conditioned bus!
After lunch at a cafe bakery in Pakse, we went to Pakse's very small international airport to fly to Luang Prabang in northern Laos. Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos after Angkor Wat until the capital was moved to Vientiane. Like many of the places we have visited on our trip, Luang Prabang is a World Heritage Site for its historic and cultural significance.
Unfortunately one of our G Adventurers passed away on the flight and was taken to hospital upon our landing. It’s been traumatic for all of us, particularly because he was in his late-30s. It was a reminder to all of us that anything can happen anywhere and anytime. It was amazing how some of the travellers applied their skills to help out in any way they could. We were pleased to see that G Adventures came through with support for any of the travellers who felt particularly affected. The regional manager came to talk with us and get us shifted back into vacation mode. He relieved our host (Sambo) of his duties and brought in another host (Yang) for the remainder of our trip. Due to his strong Buddhist faith, Sambo felt he needed to go to the temple for 3 days to pray for Jordan's soul. We and the G Adventures managers all supported him in following through on this.