Post # 22 Ban Xenuan

Day 27 1053 days to go. Distance: today 112km total 1330km. It’s 6.02pm Tuesday 27/12/2011 Ban Xenuan. I’m feeling right now that I have spent the best $5 Aus (40000kip) sitting outside the guest room. This place appeared really like an oasis this afternoon a guest house in the smallest town. There’s nothing much to it very basic but right now it’s the most beautiful place ever. I knew today that I had a midway stop towards Paske and wasn’t sure where I would end up which is kind of cool in a way but when you’re getting weary in the afternoon after and early start it’s a bit of a tricky mind game. Lets just say I squeeled squealed yayayayaya what on earth is a guest house doing out here, who cares it’s here I’ll take that one. I got my flask topped up at a roadside cafe shere I stopped for lunch and was saving it for when I finished up today. That was the best coffee ever plus the complimentary water was really cold bonus and happy happy days. And it was I’ve had a really lovely day. Totally took my time stopping as I pleased it made for a longer day but really enjoyable. The people here have goats and chickens. The chickens joined me for coffee this arv and one of the goats just sneezed as they so beautifully do. I love that familiar sound. It’s a clear chilly night and the stars are really bright with no town lights so I’m loving loving it. Great space to post the day. I left this morning via the nmarkets again to check them out in full swing markets are always so busy in the morning and definately at their best. I bought some more coffee sachets and mixed with some stall people then headed off to see what the day brought on. I stopped a few times this morning to get some pickies of the local pigs and goats and cows in amongst daily life here as Ive mentioned. Then I passed this roadside cafe that looked very inviting very low key and cheap noodles which were delish. This old fella thought me very interesting and joined me for lunch talking the whole time chatting and laughing he was so colorful and entertaining. The local goats being the curious creatures they are had to come check out Rube and I( managed to snap a picky before they bleated off to the next bit of mischief. I have mentioned the watermelons stalls and came across one for the next break and sugar fix. The lady picked a little ripe one giving it the tap test and I indulged on their bench enjoying their company and fun. When I showed the father the photo I took of him and his family he offered me another melon in exchange for the camera and thought it a great joke. Actually I think he was more laughing at me who took a time to catch on. Not a sharp moment πŸ™‚ I’ll blame exposure. The locals here rug up like its sub zero with balaclavas the works. They are forever saying in Loas ‘aren’t you cold.’ Even being the cold frog that I am am not that cold. The evenings you need a jumper but otherwise it’s really great weather and wonderful temp for cycling. Even with lots of sunscreen Ive got a ‘been in the sun’ glow. Goes to show how steamy it must get here in summer and the wet season. I took a couple of shots today on the move. I must say Ive found my balance with Rube and the gear and this is a true sign as I wouldnt have managed this previously. anyway I( came up on a tractor cart pulling a load of wood and chugging along with a man driving his wife and child. I got the camera out and lined up a shot and a stall of locals all started calling and laughing out to the family obviously letting them know they were about to be snapped. Well they thought it the best ever having their picture taken by a passing cyclists and waved me off cheering. These tractor carts are everywhere in the agricultural areas. The families use them for transport and like a ute with a wooden tray on the back loaded with whatever their business is animals or wood or sugarcane or the family or locals hitching a lift or all the above. I see them in the field with the wooden cart detached and being hand used to plow the ground. They motor along slowly but do the trick. It’s wierd to actually pass a motored vehicle on the road much to their amusement being overtaken by a cycle ‘Go Rube you good thing speed demon red rocket.’ πŸ™‚ At this town I went through called Paksong there was this amazing monastery so decorated and picket fenced with all different types of mini shrines. I was beautiful and in a town that was really small but equally cared for and beautiful in it own right. Had to stop to ejoy it more much to the delight of the baby monks who were have a chats asking anything they could in what English they knew and me asking them the questions that match their standard phrases. what’s you name, how old are you etc. The younger ones look to the older ones to translate and the chatting continues. I really enjoyed ot as did they. It was really quirky with cows all grazing in the footpath out front and I got a shot with rube parked at the temple gate with cows in the foreground. She now thinks she’s a tractor cycle pulling her cart. Rubes gone hick on me and loving the rural Laos life clearly πŸ™‚ We both are. I alter passed another monastery with a small herd of goats lazing in the afternoon shade and managed to take a picky before they bleated off complaining about being disturbed and fair enough it looked a great spot and I could have parked alongside them for an afternoon kip at that stage. Fancying myself a bit of a ‘on the move’ photographer now I passed this woman cycling with her puppy in the front basket and thought I’d try my luck a second time. They both looked soooo cute and she got a welcomed surprise to have her photo taken both of them flashing a big grin for the photo big fun. This isn;’t the sort of thing I can do obviously when the roads are busy but they were really quiet moving through only small towns today it was a chance to try it on. I’m still playing with the idea of getting a camera for my helmet because moments like these two today happen regularly during the day it’d be really great to capture it so its not forgotten when I’m later posting and to share the action with you. As simple as it is it is this sort of stuff that make cycling really quite an awesome way to move through these places. You wouldn’t experience these simple treats from a bus or car and you certainly don’t see it in the larger towns. I had the thought today how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to travel whilst still be so in touch with everyday simple life here. It’s special and particularly so later remembering what I can from the day and sharing it with you. i came across this moped mechanic where the man, his wife and children and a younger girl were doing their daily thing. Great excuse to stop and ask if I could use his air hose to pump up rube and her trailer. They didn’t really need it but it was a legitimate reason to stop for a chat. His family were amused by the crazy visitor and we topped off the visit with a group photo fun. They love doing the notorious two finger Asian salute for photos theyve got me doing it now eeeek. I stopped off later in the day at a servo for a break and the other half of the melon yum. A family stopping to refuel their tractor cart and themselves and came over and joined me. They got out the staple here for any meal basketted sticky rice, and a green soupy mix to dunk. That was pretty much the day it was then about looking for a place to stop as it was ‘had enough’ o’clock and the 100kms done for the day. What seemed like a very long 12 kms later I found this place just a matress on the floor with an adjoining toilet and wash up tub and bucket but the best ever. I celebrated by shaving the much neglected legs and plucking the eyebrows and am feeling very happy and content tonight. The lady visited when I first set up out here to update you on the day. She had her son with her he’s mentally handicapped and wanted to tell you all about his day on the keyboard. I distracted him with a photo and he was happy enough. So that’s about me for today and an awesome one at that. It’s been fun posting tonight and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I have two options how far to head depending on how Im feeling. I may get to Paske but its about 130kms otherwise it’s to another place called Sanasonombun a more respectable 100km. That’ll leave a 30km ride into Paske the next day then another 30km into Champasak where’s there’s suppose to be awesome temple ruins Wat Phu Champasak according to Lonely Planet. It was built on the mountainside 6th century and it’s apparently an awesome sight at sunrise or sunset. Champasak is right on the Mekong and there’s a sleepy fishing village island just off the mainland which is suppose to be of the tourist trail and able to arrange home-stays. Anyway very cool stuff to consider over the next days yay. For now it’s time for dinner of left over noodles and baguette carb fix 101 then an early night for an early start tomorrow. Life’s good. 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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