By Christine Salins
Lost in Laos
By Lydia Laube (Wakefield Press, $22.95, softcover, 209 pages)
Ironically, what makes Laos such an attractive place to tourists will ultimately be destroyed as it becomes a more popular destination and many of the customs and the leisurely pace of life that have been maintained through its relative isolation, start to fade out.
Lydia Laube, having been to most other places in Asia, discovers the charm, innocence and friendliness of a people who are not out to exploit tourists but who are genuinely willing to make them feel welcome.
However, as she also finds out, those same charming attributes do not necessarily make travel in Laos easy. Nothing happens very quickly and she determines that the further you get from the capital of Vientiane, north or south, the slower the pace.
Consequently, Laube’s account of her travels in the Land of a Million Elephants covers two separate trips but gives the reader a useful guide to the best way to make your way around.
Her travels down the majestic and life-sustaining Mekong River offer a blueprint for anyone wanting to make the same trip.
Laube has a knack for engaging with local people and an empathic appreciation of their uniqueness, traditions and history.
If you haven’t been to Laos, this book will draw you into the gentle magnetism of a country whose attractions are not just the serenity of the ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang or the mysteries of the Plain of Jars, but the diversity of its ethnic groups and the capacity of its people to smile and beguile.
To find out more about Christine Salins click here.