Post #13 Phong Hong

Day 18 1062 days to go. Distance: today 82km total 683km. It’s 6.00pm Sunday the 18/12/2011 and I’m sitting with a young lad at the place I’m staying in Phong Hong. His name is Suopar or that’s how it sounds. I asked him to write it down and he wrote it in Laos which by the way is a beautiful script. He is soooo blown away by my IT gear: The sat phone which I just got a message from my partner (x), the spot checker, he loved the guide books and flicked through the pages laughing at the pictures, and now the IPod and keyboard is like something from another planet I’m sure. I actually feel a bit embarrassed by the amount of kit I have but don’t get me wrong I love all of it. The spot tracker seems to be working now regularly and my sister said you can zoom right in on google maps to see my location each day which is great. It’s kinda special to be sharing each day with you and by doing so I’m not getting lonely. I really look forward to this time each evening and then uploading it into the blog when I have access. Yesterday in Vang Vieng I went straight to the internet cafe next door before showering or anything to get an internet fix as it had been a few days without and I was hanging out to email my family and update the blog. What a junky. It makes me think about traveling in the era before all this was around, how when I traveled in 1993/94 I was doing much the same but writing letters instead of blogs. It’s a very monumental change in not a very long time. It also makes me appreciate female solo travelers like Bettina Selby who was doing this sort of thing back in the 70’s when times and access to information and people looked very different. Reinforces more so what an amazing woman she and others like her are. I was doing some people watching this morning in Vang Vieng checking out the western tourists. I think it’s such a shame some are just here to be untidy and party apparently without much respect for anyone including themselves like being OS means its a free all. It makes westerners and themselves look cheep and crap and far from the truth. They are of course only a percentage and there’s heaps of other some who Ive met who are really into appreciating different places and people. And that’s very cool indeedy. Anyway back to today. The area changed twice during the 82 kms I covered. The road travelled alongside the Nam Lik river for a while and it was fishing villages I started seeing with stalls of cooking and drying fish and other shellfish. The smells were delicious even to this vego. It’s incredible how they can lay their fish out in the sun to dry and it doesn’t become toxic. They salt it and hang it up in the shops for sale. The families were outside their huts cleaning and filleting/cutting fish caught. There were long boats everywhere fishing or transporting catches,people, produce. It was such a difference life now evolved around the water. Soupar has now discovered my digital camera and is engrossed taking pictures and viewing them. I showed him once and now he’s all over it new toy hope I get it back 🙂 After the road left the river rice fields started and cows and cows and more cows walking the streets, grazing in paddocks. People were passing in trucks with cow car-cases or live stock on their way to market somewhere. It’s the in between towns that are the best, the village life is really interesting and the people more open despite being and working so apparently hard at it. I passed a dog today that looked exactly like my jungle mut ‘Honi’ back at home. She was rescued by my partner in the solomon Islands and she is tanned dingo looking with the most disgraceful curled up tail like a piglet. I saw one just like her and let out this squeal ‘Look at your tail’ lol. Soupar just took a self portrait and one of me typing away. He’s very cute. The green bottle of drink is a Lollie water called Mirinda they sell here which I’m loving. I went for a walk before and found a stall selling it yum. The girl in the shop was very curious and wanted to talk but with neither of us knowing each other’s language we just tried and giggled allot. I asked if I could take her picture and like most people here was very shy for a few moments then got right into it even counting with me in the new words she learnt for the day: one, two, three (photo) more giggles. It’s those little moments there heaps of them during the day. Kids again are my fav theyll come running out with a big hello and wanting a hand slap and I try to high five as many as I can. Or else they just run or cycle along a bit cheering whatever in Laos. I often here this little voice from somewhere sai bai diing me from a distance and it’s like a game of ‘where’s Wolly’ while I try track down where the voice came from. It’ll be in a paddock or hut window somewhere and when I spot them I give them a huge hi and wave back. Very cool fun. It’s those moments thatreally lift me during the more crappier like dealing with the road today. I have no idea why but for the last 100kms the road is like 200 metres sealed then 50 metres unsealed, rocky, red dirt and dust or rough gravel. The red dust in these spots cover everything huts, trees, me. Ruby and her trailer are looking very off road and she loves it dirty girl 🙂 I’m sure her component don’t love it as much and she definitely gets the No ! award for holding it together so far over these sections. All her suspension has been removed so it’s such an impact on the poor love but she’s going awesome so far. I’ve been passing these Budha shrines off the road, they are about 6 foot and there’s usually about a dozen or so. I saw today a family walking along the roadside and doing a prayer gesture to the shrines as they passed with their hands held in prayer above their heads in homage. An old ute passed me today with about 6 young monks sitting in the back tray in their orange robes it looked great all waving to say hi. It’s moments like these as many others I had that I’d love to have a camera on my helmet where I could capture the moment. I probably don’t need any more kit but it would be great. It’s still pretty early 7.00pm so I may go for a walk and grab a small bight to eat. I’m not that hungry after feasting on the remainder of the bread, bananas and cheese this afternoon about 3.00 when I finally stopped for lunch. It was a long haul 62km with only a few drink stops along the way but it meant that the last leg this afternoon was only 20km very manageable with my earphones and ‘Twilight’ soundtrack. Vientiane tomorrow about another 80km but I’m going to have a 7.00am start to get in early and start enjoying the capital which is supposed to be amazing. I’m having a rest day there so i’m really looking forward to the couple of days off to enjoy the place. Talk soon x

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About shecyclesolo

If you could dream up the most wildest adventure imaginable what would it be? Between jobs and craving new experience, I decided to indulge the challenge. This is what I conjoured with a promise to come home safe and smiling. I hope you enjoy the 1080 days of stories as much as I will sharing them. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

One response to “Post #13 Phong Hong”

  1. Scott says :

    Hello my friend, I am digging the posts and envisage the trip as best I can without the ‘smellavision’ effect of course! I reckon that smile of yours can’t get any bigger and must be winning the hearts and minds of the locals by the look of the pics. Keep it up looking great. Hey re Ruby and upkeep etc – grab some ‘dry lube’ when you can called ‘Rock n Roll lube’ – get the blue one ‘Extreme’ – will handle anything and at the end of the day just wipe the chain and bits down as it spits the crud out of the links etc as you ride – the best. Keep an eye on all frame welds and pivot points like where the bob trailer hooks up. cheers – Sxxxxx

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