Lonely Planet: An ‘Unhappy Ending’ in Southern Laos.
Above Photo: “What does it say in the book about used condoms?” Me in Sekong, Laos.
Like many, I swear by the Lonely Planet Guides, and take them wherever I go in the world, probably because I grew up travelling with them. Even in an age of WiFi, Smartphones and Trip Advisor, none of which can be much use in more out-of-the-way places, I still lug a Lonely Planet guide with me.
The Lonely Planet Guide to Laos is actually relevant to the plot of my novel, BACK, when a group of backpackers head into the jungles of Laos on a trek to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, armed with the Guide and little else.
On my last trip around Laos I actually emailed the company with some comments about Attapeu, in southern Laos, where my backpackers set off for their dangerous trek, because the Guide seemed hopelessly out of date.
I also commented on a few unpleasant incidents in Sekong, where we stayed in a hotel that we had also stayed in a couple of years ago, when it was excellent. On our last visit however, we discovered it had been turned into a seedy Vietnamese-run whorehouse, which was offering massage services. When we moved our bed out from the wall to access a plug socket, I discovered an enormous, disgusting stack of used condoms and condom wrappers down the side.
It wasn’t a pretty sight (much like the room-hopping masseuses), and it served as a distinctly unhappy ending to our time in Sekong.
Our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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