I've got a mobile # here in Thailand. While I only anticipate being here for a week or so, I'll put my number here in case anyone needs to reach me: +66 147 29 400
I'm pretty excited about Laos. The weather is really hot here, and so the idea of heading to the most northern point in Laos will hopefully mean that I'll sweat a bit less.
I read a newspaper report recently that bragged about the Lao government's amazing success in killing off opium production (as a result of US DEA aid). The area I'll be heading to is right next to the burmese and chinese borders (known as the Golden Triangle), and according to my trusty Lonely Planet, is one of the major opium growing/smuggling regions. We shall see if the newspaper reports tell the truth.
In my past experience, visiting drug-tourism areas can be great if you're not there to do drugs. They're so used to catering to tourists who only want to get high, that if you're not in the market for their drugs, the touts have nothing left to sell you - and tend to leave you alone... This is in sharp contrast to places where tourists go to buy local crafts, go trekking and see the temples - where you are constantly harassed non stop to buy buy buy and every invitation to have tea somehow involves you looking at silk or a carpet.