I wrote before about how the Xishuangbanna region in southernmost China felt a lot like Laos, but crossing the border into the actual Laos, you really notice a difference. On the Chinese side of the border, in Mohan, there’s austere concrete architecture and businesslike, though not unfriendly, customs officials. On the Lao side, in Boten, there’s a small shed, probably built as a temporary measure five years ago, occupied by portly, vaguely-uniformed middle-aged men, whose long lunch break is occasionally interrupted by the stamping of passports. It’s a nice introduction to the country; nothing is rushed here, and there’s no standing on ceremony.
From the border, the bus took me south to Luang Namtha, capital of the province of the same name. The town had a sleepy, off-season feel to it, but was none the worse for that. I spent about a week in the town and surrounding area, walking, cycling, napping, taking photographs. No rushing.
This post is especially for my sister Kate, whose birthday it is today. Happy birthday, Kate.