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Travelling with Lee: Laos

Where is Lord Lucan? What happened to Shergar? Why did the Marie Celeste's passengers vanish? I now have my own perplexing mystery - if my credit card arrived in Bangkok the date after I returned from Myanmar, why did it take three more days (and three dozen phonecalls from my hotel manager!) to have it delivered to me?

48 hours after receiving the elusive credit card, I took the overnight train to the capital of Laos, Vientiane! This city is often deemed "boring" and "just a one-night stopover" by the majority of visitors. I categorically and wholeheartedly disagree with these sentiments. Myself and Stefan from Cork visited the Cope Foundation's Museum which assists people who have lost their limbs in road accidents or when walking on landmines dropped by the US in the 1960s. It is for the latter reason that the country has been nicknamed "the most bombed country in the world". At the museum you read the stories of limbless people who have become inspirational amputees. This museum reminded me that although I have dyspraxia which frustrates me at times, especially in new social situations or when I struggle to recall the steps required to complete a task, that I should be less hard on myself and be proud of my achievements in life. Lunch followed at Mak Phet Restaurant which trains underprivileged young people to prepare, cook, and serve food in the hope of providing them with a new opportunity for them and their families. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Irish charities could pool their resources together and provide such opportunities to the young people they assist?

Vang Vieng was the next stage of the Laoitian itinerary. Enroute I met two fellow bloggers Matt Kepenes, aka Nomadic Matt, and Amanda Boheman, aka the Travellure. Amanda and I ended up hanging out for the next few days along with Joe who was half English and half Thai. We took motor bikes (I already looked like a Hairy Biker!) to the Blue Lagoon waterfalls where you can swim, take rope swings into the water or just jump in from trees! The other popular activity in the area is tubing which involved sitting in a doughnut shaped rubber ring whilst heading down a river with strong currents and stopping at bars enroute.

Luang Prabang is a small town adjacent to the Mekong River and I spent a week here. I decided to undertake a three day jungle trek which included a night staying in both the Khamu and Hmong People. I was fortunate enough to experience beautiful countryside, wonderful companionship, and hospitable hosts. Accommodation was basically a paper thin mattress and the shower was just a bucket of cold water! Well before dawn, the village roosters would awaken us and these alarm clocks have no snooze button!

Upon return to my guesthouse in Luang Prabang, I sought a shower, solitude, and some sleep. I headed to the airport the following day and was both relieved and embarrassed to be informed that my flight to Vietnam wasn't until the next day! Vietnam would have to await until the arrival of Lee Patrick Bernard Maguire and I am afraid that you will have to wait until another day to here about the various Vietnamese adventures!

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