A boat built of plywood and bamboo reeds takes me down river to the Laos border. I have slowly observed the culture in southern China become more and more exotic with Buddhist architecture and jungle created cuisine of sticky rice and fermented foods wrapped in banana leafs. It is unbearably hot, and the long days on the bike leave me completely exhausted.
Each night in a stagnant tent I await a small breeze to cool my sweating body. Morning brings the sound of monkeys, birds and the ever-present cicadas in the canopy above.
Laos will be a mountainous, jungle with Buddhist culture at its core surrounded by communist rule. A lot like China but with a deep rooted history in the ancient Theravada Buddhist practice. (China is predominantly Mahayana Buddhist). I look forward to offering alms to monastics and carefully finding a place to sleeping under large banyan trees.(The country still has thousands lands of active land mines left from the Vietnam war).