Unaware and a little ignorant of the country I am just about to explore, Laos, I decided to use my time in Luang Prabang well by doing a little internet research about the land with no beaches. So today, I’ll deliver a short but sweet lesson in Laos from your favourite teacher, Mr Craig. You can call me sir.
The main religion is Theravada Buddhism. Thailand is their main influence, via TV and through imports. There are over 135 ethnic groups so a Lao national identity and pride had to be enforced by the current Government. Laos was the name the French gave to the Lao people’s country, Lao is what the Lao people call their country. I’ll use Lao from now on.
Lao is larger than UK. Fact.
Lao is relatively untouched, 85% of its land is unmanaged vegetation. However there has been relentless logging of its beautiful forests and jungle for China’s benefit. Most of it illegal. There is also a brisk trade for animal parts, for China’s benefit again.
America dropped a huge amount of bombs in Laos during the war in Vietnam. It’s the most bombed country in the world per person and most of the bombs have still not been found. Huge areas of Lao have still not been made safe. Harsh.
75% of people live in rural parts and mountains, this means only 25% of people live in the small cities and towns. With his fact in mind, the real Lao should be found outside of the city. Home stays are easy. I’m going to do some.
Lao people are proper nice and friendly.
And that concludes Mr Craig’s short but sweet lesson on Lao. Next blog entry… my trip to ‘somewhere up north’ with trekking and stuff.