The past two weeks we’ve been leading an Earthwatch team so I haven’t had time to write about all the exciting things that have happened over the past month. Let’s start with November…we were out of Africa and jetsetting.
We went back to the UK to get our proper visas so we can stay in South Africa for 3 years and also for Sam’s PhD viva (which went amazingly well!!). In order to get the visas you have to drop off your applications in London and come back a few weeks later.
England in November is cold, dark and expensive. I decided that my backpacking skills were a bit rusty and should be honed again so I went to Thailand and Laos for 2.5 weeks with my friend Sally. When I got back I picked up our visas and we flew back to South Africa.
In Bangkok we shopped on Khao San Road, ate lots of pad thai, saw the reclining buddha and went to a 4D cinema to see Puss in Boots.
We were also lucky enough to be there for Loy Krathong – the festival of lights. We went up to the Golden Mount with thousands of locals to be blessed by monks and ring gongs. Then we floated flower arrangements in the water. Normally they are floated in the river but because of the flooding it was only in designated closed in areas.
We took the sleeper train to Vientiane in Laos, did a bike ride around the city and enjoyed the view from the top of their version of the arc d’triomphe.
After that we went to Vang Vieng to go rafting and Luang Prabang to enjoy the culture. While there we also rode elephants and bathed them in the Mekong River. I had the most fantastic disco bunk bed at the hostel too.
Our final stop before heading back to Bangkok was Phonsavan where we did a 2 day hike through the countryside and saw the Plain of Jars. We stayed in a local village homestay.
All in all it was a great trip but it’s good to be back at Lajuma now and getting ready for Christmas in the bush.