Day 16 1064 days to go Its 7.00pm Friday 16/12/2011. I was just doing some spell check on last nights entry and somehow managed to delete the whole entry. Anyway the night certainly didn’t end where I had finished my post so it probably makes more sense to roll the last two days together. It has been such an extreme mix and that is such an understatement. Yesterday started beautiful thick mist in the mountains which I cycled through for about the first hour. Then being so elevated the list settled into the valley early and left the bluest of skies and the air still really fresh. Great cycling uphill weather which there was allot of yesterday 30km in total up. But the scenery was spectacular with ranges of limestone peaks to well keep me distracted from the hills. There were heaps if villages and children children knee high everywhere and most knee highs then carrying their little baby brother or sister. Mostly all able bodies in the family do their bit towards working cutting/carrying wood in sacks across their foreheads and down their bent over backs to carry the load. Otherwise it’s farming root vegetables, citrus, paw paw, bananas, peanuts, melons, greens, herbs etc. The bananas are my favourite really small and sweet I can eat half a bunch in a sitting. The other half today I gave out to children at one of my stops which they devoured happily. I’m loving the kids they’re fun and totally amused by the camera, geting their photos taken then seeing themselves on the screen. It’s a fun way to bond. They cheer and sa bai dii me left right centre and hold their hands out to be slapped or blow kisses. Teenage boys often give me a push out of town which is great. Thew adults stand back more and encourage the children to come foreword but some cant resist the temptation of the camera and I’ve managed to share some nice shots with those who dared. There seems to be allot of mission, wotld vision and projects boards up in every other village. Obvious signs the village laos people have basic needs. It shows in the people in their attitude or psyche, they are much less touristed and seem far more busy managing the basics with little education apparent in the villages I pass. I had stopped at one stall today and was enjoying photos with the ladies all chuckling and shy then I stepped back and looked to see what I had bumped my head on and it was a bunch of rats hanging for sale. I let out the biggest chick squeal which the women found most funny. I gestured if they were for eating and she said yes. I’ve seen other odd food like deep fried bugs and spiders but haven’t tried any as yet under the veil of my vegetarian-ism of course 🙂 Anyway the day ended earlier yesterday and I ended up stoping to find accommodation at a town called Ban Phakang 18k short of where I had intended but I was spent and still happy with what I had covered for the day. I was told in town that I could camp up in the school grounds. It was about 500m from town and a great spot looking out of the mountains with grass huts in the front yard and a wonderful place to pitch the tent. I spent so long last night blogging around the fire describing the night and the sounds and how much I was loving the cosy space by the fire. I had such a lovely evening after a real hard day and ended up tucked in bed and passed out about 8.00pm. The next thing I remember is being woken up by a policeman and a couple of villages one who could thankfully speak a little english. He explained that there had been some security problems in the neighboring villages and that I wasn’t to camp there alone. It was about 10.30pm I think and I had to pack up camp and move on. Can you believe it – I asked if there was a family in town I could stay with because of the time and he said there was a guesthouse at the next village 1 km away. So within a half hour I’m cycling nighttime ironically because I was unsafe. I just couldn’t believe where I was . At the next town I couldn’t see any guest house and tried knocking on some doors but couldn’t raise any ones attention. Then this young man doubling his grandfather stopped and asked in pretty good english if I was ok. He was a math teacher from Luang Prabang but staying at a house in a village about 10kms away. He said I could stay with his family to which I graciously accepted and followed him for the next kms. 10kms ended up being 18 to Muang Phu Khun where I intended on heading. It took about 2 hours but there was still enough regular traffic on the road to not feel too isolated. Don’t get me wrong it was crap but I can still remember clearly the night being really blue from the full moon and clear sky and thinking that it was actually quite beautiful if it wasn’t so crazy. He ended up leading me to a guest house where I could stay which was really appreciated understatement. I couldn’t believe it but as I was thanking him he asked if he could sleep with me most politely of course like it was an everyday question. Obviously he felt we had bonded in the last 2 hours and felt some deep compulsion to hit on a stinky, disheveled, exhausted, cranky, 44 year old from Australia at 1.00am in the morning. I mean of course I can see the attraction. Geeze Louise!!!! However I kindly thanked him but told him I was very happily married and that this would not be appropriate. He then smiled and waved and bid me good night. I mean you know!!!!!!! Did the last few hours just happen???? But I was sooo cosy and chilled out by the fire just hours before and in la la land tucked in my down doona. No really you just never know what’s around the corner and that my friends has given rise to a new dimension of appreciation to that truth. lol’ing. Anyway the guest house lady welcomed me like it was an every day event and I was now in a bed shaking the bazaar experience that all ended well. It was definitely an experience and a bit of a distant memory now ironically it was only 24hrs earlier I was tucking myself in bed. Anyway onto today. I woke at about 8.00am starving and headed into the markets where I found deep fried bananas and these other deep fried things that were sweat but mostly empty like a profiterol really yum. I stuff cheese triangles into the hollow and devoured the lot. The food at the local stalls were mostly deel friend very fatty and allot of root vegetables. Clear sign the weather is very cold there at times and it was pretty chilly this morning probably about 5 degrees. So everything was steaming in hot plates and smelt great it was really fun. Back to the guest house and the lady who met me last night greated me like an old friend and was so curious about my bike and cycling. She was really lovely and we exchanged conversation attempts with absolutely no understanding but both enjoyed the effort. The scenery today was elevated bliss allot of descent which was such a rush given the views and beautiful day. I found myself singing out loud everything from Dido to a tune I’ve made up from somewhere, you know ‘O bla dee,oh bla dah Life goes on boy las la slas life goes on . . . ” Ok so replace it with ‘Sa bai dii sai bai da life goes on lalalalalala” you get the idea – what I lunatic but really big big fun. I kept laughing out loud at how magnificent the day was and the night before which was very quickly becoming a distant memory and story now to share with you. I ended up in Kasi 44km of awesome spectacular fun so much so I stopped for the day about 2.00pm and have just chilled this afternoon here. Found a great guest house, ate a belly full of rice noodles, washed everything myself and clothes included and serviced Ruby who was squeaking full on for the last kms probably objecting to my singing. Anyway some love and attention later it was dirt in her brakes and she’s purring again. Onto Vang Vieng tomorrow about 60kms. It’s been a very good day but I must say I’m missing access to the internet to which there’s none. Too remote which is kind of nice but that mod con I am enjoying I must admit. We’ll see what’s about tomorrow it’s suppose to be a bigger town. For now I’m off to bed per chance to dream about Loas police saving Aussie damsels in distress Noooooooooooottttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!! lol night and talk soon x
Photos: check out the kids they were so shy for the photos then turned into these camera action jacksons pulling all sorts of crazy monster faces for the photoshoot – They were so funny. I forgot to mention about the photo with the othe two Loas people – They invited me to stop (I was doing an ascent doing about 6km/hr so it wasn’t hard to pull up). There were having a roadside snack of some sort of root vegitable peeled eating it rw and offered me one – It tasted something like a carrot or sweet potato it was yum and I exchanged it for one of amy peanut wafers – “Good Trade!!”. The last photo is of the guest house I stayed their cocking kitchen area it’s so typical of hw inside home look and this was a great chance to take a picky to share.