The Mighty Mekong

Sunset over the Mekong, Laos.

Sunset over the Mekong, Laos.

Looking back over the trip in Southeast Asia, one of the lasting impressions I have is the beauty and power and mystery of the mighty Mekong. In northern Laos, I saw the beautiful limestone jungle cliffs rising out of the muddy Mekong. In southern Laos, I saw the powerful rapids at the supposedly highest volume “waterfall” in Southeast Asia. Other times, I relaxed in a hammock watching sparkling sunsets and lightning storms. In Vietnam, I saw how the Mekong Delta provides the silt-rich soil that is the nutrient for Vietnam’s rice basket. Everywhere I went, the Mekong was a central character shaping attitudes and lifestyles of the nearby residents. Allow me to share some more videos and photos and other impressions with you after the jump.

Crossing the Mekong at Luang Prabang in Laos.

As you can see, sometimes the rains that power the Mekong in northern Laos overwhelm the Lao road system. We were stuck on a bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane for well over a day. It should have taken a half to a third of the amount of time that it did. We had to dig our way out of a landslide. Special thanks to the full gas tanker that kept ramming the mud pile to clear a path, and thanks to our driver, who after the night before’s engine breakdown, gained confidence enough to plow through the muddy landslide. As we traveled along, you began to see why people built their houses on stilts — to avoid the flooded Mekong.

Clawing at the landslide with our hands and one shovel.

Clawing at the landslide with our hands and one shovel.

Crossing the Mekong further south at the Four Thousand Islands, Laos.

Mighty Zach and the mighty Mekong rapids at the Four Thousand Islands.

Paddle Boat on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Paddle Boat on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Paddle Boat on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

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