Following the departure of my Australian counterparts, who were making their way south in search of Laos’ 4000 islands, I was once again by myself. After an unfortunate setback caused by an elusive Vietnamese visa, a week was burning a hole in my pocket, as I was unable to leave for that Soviet stronghold until the country’s embassy reopened after a National holiday. Rather than stay in the urban jungle, I decided instead to spend some time in the sleepy town of Savannakhet, which lies on the banks of the river Mekong, about 275km south of the capital.
The bus was due to leave around 8pm, so the day was spent wandering the streets, browsing book shops and chatting to inquisitive locals down by the river. By early evening, my walk had brought me to a central square where large steps led down to a sandy beach which lay between the promenade and the Mekong. Removing my flip-flops at the bottom, I ambled towards the river across the comforting sand, still warm from a dying sun which, in its final hour of strength, shone valiantly in the early evening sky.
Adjusting my gaze to the water, some local kids stood on the bank, amusing themselves by skipping stones across the surface, each impact sending tiny undulations through the sun glazed water. Above their playful antics, the sun entered its final act, radiating a wide spectrum of intense red and orange light that merged with a fading blue sky in a symphony of colour. Golden spears reflected off the water to illuminate the city behind me, painting the buildings with a rich gilded hue. Minutes later, the grand time-piece made its final farewell to the day and slipped beneath the silhouette of buildings on the horizon, and in doing so, handed its guard over to an infant moon, eager to begin its twilight vigil. With the performance over and my departure time rapidly approaching, I dusted the sand from my shorts and headed back into town.
Alex Saunders is an English Literature graduate who took off to see the world. After three continents, twelve countries, eighty six blog posts and two hundred and forty seven days of traveling through sun-scorched deserts, humid jungles, squalid slums and windswept valleys on a variety of buses, bikes, cars, trains and planes, I find myself back home in the UK, looking to the future but missing the road. http://alexsaunderswriting.blogspot.co.uk