Post #17 Kong Lo

Day 22 1058 days to go. Distance: today 100km total 951km. It’s 7.54pm Thursday 22/12/2011 Long Lo. I am sitting outside my hut where I am having a home stay with a family here in Kong Lo. Im staying in the bamboo stilted hut  at the back of the main house which comparatively is more modern and Im sure comfortable fo0r the family but Im soooo loving my hut.  It s a one room with a toilet room off to the side with a squat toilet and concrete basin of water to wash and bucket empty the toilet.  There’s a small veranda and set of stairs leading up and it looks out over their backyard which is a rotated vegetable garden with chickens and ducks scratching busily.  It’s an incredibly still night with stars and an orchestra of frogs outside. I have just shared dinner with the family a husband and wife and their five year old son. We sat on the floor around an upturn basin and feasted on basket-ed sticky rice, noodles, a fish and vegetable soup and salted chili paste. They welcomed me by tying white cord around my wrist as a gesture of welcome and good luck. I can’t believe where I ended up today and never whilst fighting a headwind for most of the day from Thabok to Pak Kading did I ever think that this could be where my day would end . I looked at the kms to travel and days left until Christmas and is I was to see Kong Lo cave and be in Thakhack for Christmas Eve to hopefully have a Skype date with my partner, I knew I had to catch a bus here then back to the main rte 13 road to cycle the remaining 95km on the 24th. I approached a bus in Pak Kading that had stopped at a roadside store and asked how to get to Kong  Lo.  Within 5 minutes me and Rube are packed into the bus and on our way to the junction town of Ban Vang Lao a 87km ride. There I caught a taxi another 45km to Kong Lo. The countryside is amazing as we’re right  in the Khammuang Limestone National Biodiversity and Conservation Area or so the map says. The road crossed over a limestone ridge into a plateau area surrounded by mountain walls of limestone cliffs and jagged outcrops. There are remote villages scattered throughout the area which appears to be agricultural and farming land. The bus ride over the ridge was hair raising and with driver having to stop constantly to rebuild the revs in the motor before starting up again – it was all hair pin turns and blind corners. I of course was in the front seat with full view of the tricky road eeeeek. The lady next to me shared her grilled banana and sugar cane pieces which was a feature of the roadside stalls today. The road followed the Mekong River for mo9st of the way which was beautiful but crazy windy. The stalls were selling chilled sugar cane pieces in bags which I indulged in as well as bananas and pineapples. Being on the Mekong dried fishy of all shapes and sizes also appeared from time to time. We had some of the dried fish tonight. Well I tasted the broth at least and it was not surprisingly really fishy7 and salty but yum to dunk the sticky rice into. Rube had her first ride on top a taxi which i like a larger tuk tuk with an open but covered caged bench seated tray at the back. We traveled 45km over sunset and it was just gorgeous gorgeous the sunset colors and dust all the while these sheer limestone crags on each side of us like a huge canyon. I was able to ask the taxi driver if I could do a home stay which the lonely planet mentions is an accommodation option. It costs 50000 for the room, dinner and breakfast and for the experience its worth every bit of kip. The man said he would take me in his tuk tuk tomorrow 2kms to where I catch a boat through Kong Lo cave. The cave is apparently 7km underground waterway that you access only by long boat and it’s at the top of the must dos for Loas. So I decided to treat myself for Christmas and am so happy I did. relative to day to day expense it’s a bit exy (about $50 AUS total including travel to/from) but as I said happy Christmas to me. The family all serve and eat from shared bowls with their fingers (My partner would have passed out). and slurp and slop bits of food all the while laughing and burping and making ‘this is very tasty’ noises. They gave me a fork which I happily used but picked at the sticky rice so I wasn’t entirely alien. Breakfast is at 7am then off to the cave, back here to pick up Rube and my gear and head back to the route 8 and 13 junctions and onward s to Tha Khaek for the 24th. I’m so hoping there’s internet access there but Im not sure as it’s mixed whether towns even larger ones have access. It’s a border crossing town with Thailand so here’s hoping.  Anyway for now it’s off to bed under the mozzie net and blue painted thatched walls to be up early for tomorrow can’t wait. Talk soon x



Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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