Collecting trip to Laos (August-September 2012)

In August-Spetember of 2012 Jefferson Vaughan, Stephen Greiman and I went to Laos to collect digeneans as a part of our project on Neorickettsia funded by the NIH. We flew to Vientiane with stops in Tokyo and Bangkok. In Vientiane we were hosted by the diagnostics laboratory built by the Oxford University. Dr. Paul Newton and Dr. Sabine Dittrich have provided us with the space and all necessary facilities in the lab as well as invaluable advise and logistic support that allowed us to do work efficiently almost immediately after arriving to the country that no one of us visited before. Moreover, both Sabine and Paul have generously allowed us to explore the water bodies in their backyards (a lotos pond and the Mekong River shore) for snails. We had a great market and field collecting time, examined large number of snails for cercariae and fish for metcercariae. As we did our work we saw various landscapes and beautiful buddist temples. It was a great start of our work in Laos.

Tuk-tuk is the Vientiane version of a cab. It is a motorcycle.

Morning fish market

Our tuk-tuk driver helps us negotiating price and writes down the local name of fish

The market is quite a chaotic place

My TropicScreen fits the size of the bed perfectly.

Jeff and Vasyl are happy with the market "catch"

This is Stephen's first trip to Asia Waiting for the breakfast

Sabine allowed us to collect snails in her pond

Got some!

Thailand is just across the Mekong from Vientiane Statue of the King Anouvong on the bank of the Mekong River
Temple Another temple building
Statue in the temple yard Large hornet nest in the frontyard of our hotel
Food market is not a particularly hygienic place Several species of fish to choose
River rapids A small waterfall
An elegant wasp is looking for leftovers from our lunch Jumping spiders are my favorite. This one is very proud with the trophy since the fly is bigger than him. A good, well deserved, meal.
One of the ponds we collected from Local kids were curious about what we are doing and added a few snails to our bucket
A sizeable Tokay gecko A smaller gecko species. These were common everywhere.
The infectious disease center Snacking with dragon fruit during a short break
At the lab bench We had to process a large number of snails
Poultry at the market Trying to choose fish
Nam Houm reservoir Stephen collecting snails
Jeff collecting snails Vasyl collecting snails
Smaller water bodies usually were more productive Introduced apple snails were omnipresent, but useless for us
These roosters are not kissing... they are fiercely fighting One of the Laotian fishing tools
Nam Ngum is a large artificial reservoir It is quite scenic
Schoolchildren eating lunch Preying mantis waiting for an inattentive fly
Presidential palace Patuxai Victory Arch is the Vientiane analog of the Arc de Triomphe
A view of the Mekog River at the sunset from Paul's backyard A fountain in the downtown Vientiane
Rice paddy Collecting in the rain
Hard working ants carrying an earthworm A giant milliped moves quickly in the grass
Stephen looking at Bithynia Sengmany was extremely helpful and always cheerful
More snails Vasyl giving the first part of the seminar to the hospital staff
Jeff explaining the biology of ehrlichiae The audience (Paul Newton is in the center)
On the way home the Bangkok airport welcomed Jeff with live orchids And some demons...