We're in Laos, a country about the size of Great Britain but with a population of only six million. It's one of the world's most undeveloped countries.
Above is a section on the Mekong river east of Pakbeng.
Four days ago, we crossed over from Chiang Kong in Thailand to Houeisay, Laos. We hired a private boat and spent the next two days leisurely traveling 400 kilometers down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang (where we are now).
The high point of the river trip was visiting various hill tribe villages (that are only accessible from the river, i.e., there are no roads). Shown above is a Hmong village. The woman (a mother of thirteen children) is grinding corn for animal feed. She had a strong right arm.
Above, Wendy and I are inside a Hmong home with some of its eight residents. The cooking area consisted of two fire pits, one for human food and one for livestock food. The house had no windows.
At a Khmu village, we met with a group of boys under a house (the houses are on stilts there). It was mid-day and this was the coolest place. We asked them where their fathers were, and they said, "In the rice fields, a hour's walk away."
For the past two days, we've been enjoying our time in Luang Prabang (a UNESCO World Heritage city). Here I am with six Buddhist monks (they live at the Wat Visounalat temple monastery). These boys were 16-17 years old and will spend anywhere between six months and two years as monks (this is something most young men here do).
We consider ourselves very fortunate to have visited Laos.