For Laos, and other countries in this region, the Mekong river is like an important artery, and means life in the jungle. It means transportation, it means water for drinking, washing, and irrigation. It means a disposal bin, playground for children, agriculture, and food. It also provides for a magnificent view of the countryside.
The Laotians are very intelligent in their use of the river. We were there during the dry season, and the river banks of the Mekong, just revealed by the lowering levels of the waters, had been turned into apparently fertile pieces of agricultural terraces. The lowerr on the banks you looked, the younger the vegetation was. On the lowest slopes, you could sometimes only see the holes of planted seeds. These terraces only last for a few months though, come the rainy season and they will be wiped out by the rising Mekong. That's why people were frantically working the lands, carrying water up from the river to irrigate their newly planted vegetables and fruits.
The river not only provides for a natural washing opportunity, in effect being one big bathroom, but to our amazement we saw that people also used it as drinking water. And for sure, we must have consumed some of its grey waters unwantingly in one soup or another. Perhaps better not to know....
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Laos Mekong River (Laos). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Laos Mekong River. Read more about this site.