Don Det (my island of choice in the Four Thousand Islands) was quiet. Very quiet. My first day there I saw maybe 5 tourists and assumed the island was empty. I planned to leave the next day…but then I found the Reggae Bar.
Reggae Bar (as it was oh-so-appropriately named) was one of two main hangouts on the island, both selling various “happy” snacks and both catering to high numbers of far too “chilled out” tourists. I had found the island’s population.
The whole Rasta vibe really isn’t my scene, but I decided to play along and see where it got me.
- I watched a jam session complete with bongo drums and a didgeridoo.
- I met some Austrian dude with dreads and Bob Marley pants who invited us (by us I mean myself, some fellow Canadians, and every tourist within a 5k radius) to a Rastafarian birthday party on a private island.
- I celebrated above mentioned birthday party by playing frisbee (I would get a black eye), eating the best BBQ of life, and sitting in the sketch water that is the Mekong River (brown water, unknown river creatures grabbing your toes, rumours of crocodiles…sketch).
- I spent a great deal of time pondering whether the Happy Birthday Cake was a “Happy Birthday Cake” or a “Happy” Birthday Cake (this remains unconfirmed).
- I saw a lot of dreadlocks.
- I met some…interesting? people (the most notable being a German girl who breeds spiders. Her favourite past time? Letting the deadly species crawl across her face because “don’t you just love the feeling of a spider crawling across your face?” And if she dies? “…It was worth it”).
- I listened to the same 5 reggae songs on repeat.
- I learned that one should always avoid the “happy” mashed potatoes.
- I remembered how much I hate Bob Marley pants.
- I was reminded that the Rasta life is not for me.
While I assumed I’d spend only a night or two, I somehow managed to kill a whopping 6 days at the Four Thousand Islands. I did actually do some activities (kayaking, bicycling, etc.), but the vast majority of my days were spent killing time with stoners, wannabe stoners, and full-fledged Rastafarians with a couple of your run-of-the-mill tourists (like me) thrown in for good measure. We mostly did a whole lot of nothing (as this is the “cool” thing to do in Laos) and the whole experience was very…unique.
So there you have it. That time I (attempted) to embrace my inner Rastafarian on a tiny little island they call Don Det.