Kitty R. continues the river wandering through Laos, that is, she flows with the Mekong River to another small town - Nong Khiaw. All this is still happening with the good company of Sir Last, Y. and L., constantly wonderful people, with whom time passes lazily, without social compulsions or unnecessary small talk. They call themselves Pumpkins due to the few-day worship of the local homemade pumpkin soup. Sir Last asks the waitress: ‘I’m sorry, the spring rolls in Lao style, what does that mean?
From Vietnam to Laos, the mini bus leaves only once a day. This sentence contains everything, including the fact that on that day from the entire border town of Dien Bien Phu only a few travelers and a few local people are heading to Laos, which suggests that this is not a very popular direction. The minivan moves unhurriedly, stopping here and there, efficiently taking various goods for transport (roof plate, food bags, bucket with something alive), thus filling all available space.
Again Kitty R. and Sir Last travel by vietnamese night train, in which the compartments are made entirely of varnished dark wood, on the table there is a jug with freshly plucked flowers, and blue bathroom flip-flops lie scattered on the floor. The compartment is for 4 people, so Kitty R. and Sir Last are accompanied by two young American women who teach English in one of the Thai schools in the countryside.
Travelling around Southeast Asia is simple and sweetly thoughtless. After landing, most often in Bangkok or Hanoi, the tourist is immediately taken into a spider’s backpacker network, not requiring from him too much thinking or organizing. Town after town, attraction after attraction, thread by thread; offer attack at every step. To get out of this imposed network is probably possible only for lucky motorbike owners or very fierce hitchhikers. A specific travel dress code also seems to be solid here; dresses and trousers predominate in banana and watermelon patterns (Kitty’s favourite couple is the one dressed as a pineapple-couple).
To write that Saigon is crowded for Kitty R. is as writing that the Earth is round; almost everyone knows that. However, for Kitty R. to hear about this is one thing, and to survive it, is another matter. Ho Chi Minh is not a pedestrian city; here are scooters that fill the urban space to the brim; all pavements are completely obstructed by parked mechanical two-wheelers. Kitty R. observes and inevitably participates in the street traffic with a certain fascination; it seems that there is absolute lawlessness here.
Kitty R. and Sir Last have been on their way since long enough to adjust to many Asian innovations, they became their everyday life. High-fives with children as natural as having every day breakfast, tough-refusal-with-a-smile to tuk tuk driver’s offers, chopsticks they could use with covered eyes, and they even started to give names to their room-mates: cockroaches and geckos. In connection with the above, Kitty R. and Sir Last decide to go to Kratie.
Sir Last feels a bit better, so together with Kitty R., they decide to transfer themselves from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. All inclusive, that is, the bus even has free wifi and croissants. In Phnom Penh, they go to the Vietnamese Embassy to arrange a visa for the March future. It turns out, however, that even at the embassy of Vietnam in Cambodia they celebrate the Chinese New Year (the embassy is closed for a week).
Kitty R. and Sir Last spend their last few Thai days in Bangkok. Their host – W., is an authentic man in everything he does, very empathic, but at the same time with a huge awareness of his own needs and boundaries. Artist and warrior in one Thai man. He introduces Kitty R. and Sir Last to the culinary world, where nothing is wasted and teaches Kitty how to eat rice with a spoon.
Kitty R. and Sir Last arrive on Koh Lanta- a tropical island. Kitty R. has never seen so many happy people at once. Arrivals, tourists, locals, cats, fish. All smiling, happy, relaxed. In the morning, in the evening, at night. On the beach, on the street, in front of the bungalow. Ubiquitous chillout. Land of happiness. From time to time someone with a bandaged leg or hand flashes as a memory of an accident on a scooter.
Night. The gentleman who unexpectedly every now and again gives them treats (rolls with nothing-like paste, soy milk with black sesame seeds, peanuts in coffee coating, carrot-unknown juice…) suddenly pokes Kitty in her shoulder. The bus stops. Kitty R. and Sir Last get off. The bus leaves. They are alone, bathed in the complete darkness. There is not even a shadow of life or memories of light. They are in the jungle and they can not see anything.