Reportage 2019

Where mass tourism arrives, the face of a country is destined to change forever. When I arrive in a place that apparently still owns some of its true soul, I have almost a thrill, a forbidden pleasure in thinking I might be seeing things that will disappear at any moment. Then I realized I could be the same individual bringing that change. Tourism has undoubtedly arrived also in Laos, but at a degree that apparently hasn’t already disfigured people’s attitudes and landscape, not if one avoids the nevralgic centers of the adventure’s or partying’s pilgrimage (yes crazy parties in Laos!). 

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Like some tourists enjoy untouched places, so do foreign investors with a country rich in raw materials and in a strategic position. The beautiful rainforests and the impressive river network is therefore being harmed by the irresponsible and deregulated chinese investments in infrastructure: a massive high-way where there are barely roads; a constellation of dams where most of the transportation of goods and people is by river; huge white SUVs in cities where there are only motorcycles and tuk-tuks; barefoot children and electricity as a rare commodity in villages where every family has a smartphone. Everything collides, everything still remains… suspended. What is to blame? What is to thank? Probably to a certain degree the characteristic approach of its people, peaceful indolence. In case of massive takeover by worldwide superpowers, better take a nap.