Where has Don been Lately?

This is the 4th installment of this page.  I like to call it a "living web page" since I will be updating it as I visit interesting places.  Check here often or at least once a month.  If you missed the previous pages, you can still view them by clicking on the following hyperlinks:

http://www.ddjohnson.com/been 1st edition.htm

http://www.ddjohnson.com/been 2nd edition.htm

http://www.ddjohnson.com/been 3rd edition.htm

Since moving to Thailand on July 4th, 1999 I have traveled outside Thailand at least once a month, as well as many trips within in the country to places like Changmai in the northwest to Cha Am, Hua Hin, Chumpon, Krabi and Phuket to the southwest -- and of course Bangkok.

Along with travels to China, Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong, I took pleasure trips to China, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos the Philippines and various places the US.

Here are a few photos from my recent travels that I hope you find interesting:

Maldives  Late September was spent with a short trip to Singapore then to the Maldives for a week-long liveaboard diving trip.   The Maldives is a 100% Muslim country composed of 26 atolls and approximately 1,200 islands (at low tide) of which about 200 are inhabited (mostly closed to visitors),  and 80 islands open to visitors (some with resorts).

The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean just north of the equator, west of Sri Lanka (old Ceylon) and southwest of India. The population is about 250,000.

Here are a few photos of the experience:

   My home for a week in the Maldives, the Rani These small diveboats, called a Dhony, accompany the liveaboard boat and are used for taking divers to the dive sites during the travels throughout the country

 Aboard a Dhony

Our Maldivian Dhony boatman for a week

 A typical Maldivian island Resting saber squirrelfish
 A friendly turtle and butterfly fish Stunning starfish


 A posing large moray eel Powderblue surgonfish, one of my favorites

Vientiane, Laos  Dave James and I flew to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, in early November mostly out of curiosity-which is why we all travel for pleasure I suppose.  The country's geography is stunning and unspoiled (although the north portion of the country still shows the deep scars of the American bombing campaign during the Vietnam war).  The Laotians lead a simple agrarian life, the towns are undeveloped compared to most other countries in Asia, there is no pollution (not much industry), and the people extremely friendly, helpful and curious about white foreigners.

I didn't see one single policeman during the entire visit in Vientiane (with the exception of a couple of police boxes on the corners of the hotel) or during the driving excursion to the north.  Not one.  There simply is a very, very low crime rate in this self enforced and self respected Buddhist country.

Laos is one of the few remaining countries with single party system, however, the people can vote for the parliamentary candidate of their choice and the chosen parliament chooses the President.

Here are a few photos of this beautiful and peaceful country:

Ox Carts 

Lao Temple in Vienteine


 Lao boy, either put your pants on or don't ever lose those sandels, you'll need them to run from the girls

Your boy on the Mekong River

 A Buddhist Shrine in the wilderness

A view from the entrance to limestone caves in the north

 The No. 1 selling Lao beer in the country--The only Lao beer in the country

Just in case you want to make a call---for whatever reason, or buy something---for whatever reason

Check this site next month for photos from my diving trip to the unique Similan Islands of Thailand, and maybe the Burma Banks dive area.

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