A lot has happened since my last post. After Vang Vieng in Laos, I headed further north to Luang Prabang, a more laid back city, on the Mekong river. A less traveled destination on the backpacker trail. I traveled here with 3 people I met in Vang Vieng, Jarro, Jamie, and Martin, all from different countries but the best of times where had. There is not too much to do in the city except the local night market selling local crafts, and cheap food. I was here 3 days and 2 of the days I was sick so I didn’t do much.
Further north there is a small town called Nong Khiaw. My friend Martin that I met in Vang Vieng, and I decided to hitch hike the 93 miles to the small town, while Jamie and Jarro stayed back meeting us there the next day. It was a great experience and my first time hitchhiking. The idea of hitchhiking is foreign to the people of Laos, so when you wave them down, they just wave back like you are saying hi, but you eventually get picked up. Nong khiaw sits along the Mekong river and it is a nice little town, that looks like an old mining town, the houses have corrugated tin roofs and everything looks very rustic and abandoned. The further north you go in Asia the colder it gets, and I didn’t really pack for cold weather, at night it would get down to around 40 degrees. We stayed in Nong khiaw for 3 days, and on our second day, Jamie and Jarro joined us, and we rented motorbikes and explored the mountain villages, where the huts are made from woven bamboo. The villages are very rural but a lot of the huts have satellite dishes on top, it is a weird contrast.
On the way up to Nong khiaw, the road follows the Mekong river and we were able to see the effect of over consumption of power first hand, and how we don’t look at the environmental impacts we as humans have on this earth. The Xayaburi Dam can be seen being built in northern Laos. The Chinese company Xayaburi Power Company Limited, is currently finishing up building on the new damn. One of eight dams built on the Mekong River, known as the heart of SE Asia, feeding more than 60million people a year. The dam projects are posing huge concern for the environments and community’s 100s of miles down stream from where they are being built in northern SE Asia. Farmers and fisherman rely on the Mekong River and they have for 1000s of years. The dams are restricting flow of water causing fish populations to decrease and farmers suffering from droughts. When I was in Khon Kaen, Thailand I saw the direct impact of the Chinese dams first hand without realizing. Tula told me that it was a hard season, and farmers where struggling do to lack of water. The farmers depend on the nutrient filled water from the Mekong River and the dams are impacting farmers that live hundreds of miles away from the dams.
It is sad to see the impact humans have on this planet of ours, and it is hard to see a change ever happening. Every country is only worried about expanding and no one ever stops to look at the effects. The hydropower energy is green energy, but there are still impacts of this. I believe that instead of changing the environment to suit our lifestyles, we change our lifestyles to suit the environment.
The average American uses approximately 313 million Btu of energy, while the worldwide average per person is around 75 million Btu. If we all take a look into our own lives and consume less for the greater good of society, we could make the world a better place. But changing the world for better requires every individual to start making a change. Even I am guilty of this. It is not an easy thing to do, we are creatures of habit and unless we all take a step outside of the bubble we live in and realize the bigger picture it will never happen and we will all have to live on the moon in small shitty bubbles, maybe then we will realize the bubble we live in.Continue reading “Luang Prabang to Hanoi”