Apr 11, 2010

Là-haut (Yonder) - Outside the tourist bubble in Northern Laos

Above the blogger Marine Richard, a French woman who travels through Laos alone. The  name of her blog la-haut translates into Yonder when I enter it into Google translater,  who knows if this is correct. I'd urge you to go to either language and take a look, read for a while. Better to just go and  read for yourself than to read what I think of it.

I found this blog by happenstance as I do many things on the net, I followed an incoming hit to my blog to see where it came from. I scrolled through the blog looking for a link, on the way I saw many intriguing photos. Intriguing in that they showed a keen eye for what is Lao, especially rural upland northern Lao. The blog was also in french. I have my eye out now for blogs in French showing very off the track type things.

A while ago I read an interesting account of a couple of French guys heading down by boat from Muang Khua to Luang Prabang, complete with capsizing, near drownings, and all kinds of other adventures.

And then there was that google translation I posted about xxxxxx-xxxxxxx-trek-in-phongsali where the guy walks the length and breadth of Phongsali off road.

I was beginning to think maybe the French have some sort of monopoly on remote travel in northern Laos. Imagine my consternation when I plugged the whole thing into Google Translator and found out this blog was by a woman. Not only a woman but a youngish woman, in Lao they'd say sao.

Ms. Richard carries with her the basic tools with which to take an in depth sojourn through the north.

1. A very basic familiarity with the language, not fluency, but a definite ability to speak some Lao.

2. A familiarity with the peoples and cultures. Enough to know the ethicities of those she sees and to eat sticky rice. Enough familiarity, to inform her observations which brings us to number three.

3. The ability to observe. So often we are caught up in our own desire to say or be seen that we fail to listen and watch. Ms. Richard can do both and she also thinks about what she has seen.

4. Lastly Ms Richard is not naive.

I'm almost done with my second reading. The blog isn't really a blog in the sense that it's not an updated entity, the story starts at the beginning and goes to the end. I'd urge anyone who can read French to go to the original web site and read. I suspect that it is much better that way. The address is http://www.la-haut.blogspot.com/

Below is another photo from Ms. Richard's blog. The photos she has posted on the left side somehow don't fit in the space provided, and so when I looked at the picture I could only see the left half of the picture. But it seemed familiar. In my mind I started ticking off the possibilities and eliminating them as soon as they crossed my mind. It came to me later while I was reading. Do you know where the photo is from? You should.

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