An Intrepid Tour Leader

by Marlo Perry

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Working as a Tour Leader in Laos

 

12. Laos

1st September 2004
Traffic in Hanoi - Fortunately so far I have only had three passengers who have had accidents; one broken arm, one fall and one banged up knee.

Halong Bay - I get to hang out here about once a month. Great day swim around, seafood lunch. Some trips we stay out overnight on the boat, have a morning swim before heading back to the mainland.

Angkor Wat - Amazing place. Heaps of temples everywhere but everyone always wants to see Angkor.

Elephant Riding - Always a bit of fun.

29th August 2004
Hello, hello, hello,
Feels like ages since I've sent you all a message. Can't even remember where I left you all. Probably somewhere before I lead a blind trip (ie never done it before) through Laos. Wow - what a country, had such a great time. It was good not to be hassled endlessly.

Like the rest of South East Asia the people were super friendly but so laid back. Resting and relaxing must be a national sport. Most enjoyable town was Luang Prabang. I had been there about five years earlier and it is still as cruisy as ever, just a couple more internet shops, bakeries and tourist cafes but more or less has the same serene feel, Heaps of wats and temples are scattered around town. Monks pass you by all day and if you wake up super early (5am) you can watch as at least 200 monks collect alms in the morning. That is they walk in single file passing local people who give them food into their bowls.

The trip I lead also goes to a homestay so we stayed overnight in a small Lao village. Great experience, squat toilet, communal sleeping area - actually they only had room for my pax inside the house so I had to sleep outside on the verandah which was even better, until the roosters started their morning chorus at 3am, 4am, 5am. By 5 the whole village was awake anyway so we popped on down to the river for a wash.

I was sick the first week of the trip - really sick. Some kind of flu which really knocked me, or maybe the medication I was taking had a similar effect, high as a kite for group meeting, not a good start but my group was good. I was very lucky. It could be disastrous if the group doesn't get along as it is a REALLY long trip - 29 days. Always together in transport, accommodation and some activities. I tried to give them as much free time as possible so they weren't forced together too much as I think that is when things can start cracking.

By the time we got to Vietnam I knew what I was doing, similar to other trips I've run so felt a lot more relaxed. Then into Cambodia and the final night was in Siem Reap (a town right near Ankor Wat). And finally "me time". I have worked 67 of the past 70 days and I am absolutely exhausted. Really draining spending so much time with people, answering questions endlessly, organising crap endlessly.I really enjoyed placing the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door. Plugged in the Playstation - which I left behind as I didn't want to carry it around to places I didn't know and am having a couple of days trying to beat Omnishuba3. Go Jacques!

So now, a week off all for me no passengers Yeah and then an even bigger YEAH is my friend from Australia is coming out to see me. YEAH Jo. So we are going to have heaps of fun at the beachside town of Hoi An - my most favourite town in Vietnam. It will be great.

Before that I have to go to the dentist, again. Very cheap in Bangkok I went the other day and it cost me $12 to get my teeth cleaned at the same time she told me I had to come back and get some root canal treatment. Scary! I went yesterday for the first session (yes apparently I need a bit of work done. Its been sore for a while, I know I've been putting it off but a couple of sessions....) I think she is picking up a lot that isn't too wrong with my teeth but for a clean, root canal treatment (3 sessions!) a filling (porcelain, none of this silver crap) and to block a few small holes it will come to around $150. Just do the lot but pass me the laughing gas......

Ha ha ha ha
Marlo

About the Author
Marlo Perry is a Group Leader for the Australian based tour operator, Intrepid Travel.

1. The Apprentice... 2. Trip One... 3. Half Way... 4. Tet... 5. Monkey Business... 6. Quick Turnaround... 7. Thai New Year... 8. Angkor... 9. Bangkok... 10. It Depends... 11. A&E... 12. Laos... 13. Routine... 14. Pig Rabies... 15. Burma... 16. Tsunami... 17. Songkran... 18. Sick Note... 19. Cycle Vietnam... 20. Street Kids... 21. My Life. Ideas Needed... 22. June Jambles...