Post#24 Champasak

Day 29 1051 days to go. Distance: today 47km total 1400km. It’s 7.12pm Thursday 29/12/2011 Champasak. I am sitting in the cafe attached to the guesthouse I’m staying at 40000 kip nice and the restaurant looks straight out onto the mekong. The village lights from the island opposite are twinkling and the frog are going off. They’re almost drowning out the bunch of knee highs that live here. It’s very active o’clock for them and they’re happy squealing a muck. I’ve just got back from the Wat Phu Champasak awesome awesome awesome got to appreciate it for a few hours including sunset this arv so feeling very chuffed with myself and really glad I bothered. Today started with a recky of Paske interesting place full of pockets of happenings. Paske’s perched on an inlet where the Mekong and Si Don rivers meet. So there’s a real active river life mostly restaurants but also locals enjoying the lazy feel to the place like groups of men playing what I called botchy but here its called Petang. It’s got a rustic french colonial charm that’s a bit dirty and raw. It was still quite sleepy when I cycled round with stalls just starting to cook their breakfast menu grilled meats and sticky rice smells everywhere. That smell in the morning and then at dusk is so yummy. It’s like a smoky grilled BBQ smell of spicy meets with fresh steamed rice in the background mmmmmmmm you can tell I haven’t had dinner yet. I just sniff my way around at these times psyching up for what tempts the most. I think Ive mentioned previously that most locals don’t cook here they eat out and it’s a way of life to cater either quick stop stalls through to restaurants. Its really cool to check out the roadside stalls industriously preparing their menu for the hoards that come through at hungry o’clock. Mostly locals snack on the run or buy takeaway in plastic bags or some sit at the few chairs if available. There’s allot of social eating places where groups will sit around a grilling plate and it’s a free all everyone in selecting from fresh meat and veg cuts and grilling their bites. I found the local morning market which is also one of my favorite places and stocked up on bananas and found some baguettes yay – clearly recovered from my ant ordeal with no PTSD clearly seeing I bought three. I was trying to find how to access the bridge to Champasak and came across a dead end but right there was this pig market with this crazy frenzy of bidding and bartering it was insane. It was a bit challenging as the pigs welfare is not a priority just the first in don’t miss out yelling and squealing eeeek thing. Pigs were being pulled in an out by the legs in bright yellow hessian bags and it was just so business as usual I stood there for ages catching the eyes of locals and nodding at their good buys. i hope I don’t come back as a Laos pig that yellow is not my color. I’ve just tuned in to the layers of sounds coming from the river peoples voices at different distances and lots of put put motoring from long boats that’s the main river transportation. Frogs are the sopranos and geckos occasionally come in with their double chirps. It’s balmy and the breeze coming off the river is really melting. It’s nice there’s no tourists at least we’re Im staying. There’s a couple more upmarlket hotal further up and the few I have seen today may be there if there overnighting. I was expectng to see more tourists at the wat this arv but it was mostly laos people. There were these two japanese girls who were so sweat came up recognizing ruby as a specialized bike like a bike at home and kept saying how much I need to include Japan in my itineracy. That’s a bit of a detour. I checked out of the guesthouse in Paske and had my helper ‘Con’ who worked there so wanting to help. He sleeps in the foyer like most workers seem to do at guesthouses and going by the way Ruby’s seat was positioned this morning I think he and her played up all night she’s very quiet about the topic and a but sleepy today I noticed 🙂 Before leaving I ran into this crazy couple I met back in Kasi Christiano from italy and Graziella from France. They are so well travelled for an extended period of time and back in Kasi I got chatting for a bit about Madagascar Graziella’s favorite place. Anyway it was really great to bump into them again and was able to give them a card in case they want to keep in tough. We’re roughly traveling in the same direction for the next month so it maybe we meet up. The cycle to Champasak was lovely. The Bolaven Plateau is on one horizon and mountain ranges on the other. It’s very rural and agricultural with rice fields the main crop. I found this empty roadside stall right on the river to stop for lunch which was beautiful and the baguette never tasted so good. Champasak itself is very laid back comatosed even and there’s lots of places to chill and space out watching the river life potter by. I was tempted to just find a shady spot and play with my belly button but motivated myself to go check out the watt and so glad I did. It’s from the 6th century and it oozzed this age quite primitive in some of it’s rock impressions of geckos and elephants. Aparently it was the blueprint for cambodia’s Ankor watt so that’ll be interesting to check for similarities when I’m there. The watt runs up a hillside and from the top there’s a terraced outlook over the complex. Flowering frangipanis line the stairs up the hill beautiful and the light was great being over sunset. It draws locals who leave offerings and burning incense in the shrines and there’s ladies selling offerings for those who didn’t come prepared and feel the urge. I noticed the Buddhas had been dressed in gold robes and the one in the courtyard even has an umbrella. Well it is hot you know and you too would have sun exposure concerns if you were that old 🙂 It was very laid back and non touristy and a wonderful place to wonder and appreciate awesome. The 10km of road to/from there was through all local villages which was fabulous. The road was unsealed and /or really broken up and it added to the village atmosphere it was wonderful to ride. It was dark on the way back and the villages all had their stalls smelling at their best I was conbstantly butterflying and badly timing bumps in road much to Rubes protest. Anyway on that note it’s time to round off and grab dinner bit late bit peckish and a bit of an early start tomorrow. I saw a shop that says it’s got wifi internet from 7am to 6pm so if so Ill upload the last post and photos if possible. Then the ferry is 2km down the road so I’ll try find that head back to the mainland and pick up route 13 down to Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) which is as it sounds a bunch of laid back island just north of the border with Cambodia and apparently beautiful – That’s where I’m going to hop for the next days crossing the border on the 2/1/2012. It’s a 110-120km ride tomorrow so off to bed for these little legs. Fun day and post. Talk soon x
Ps I just went outside to send the spot message and the whole family living here came out.the oldest sister lives here with her other sister and brother and the family they each have two children hence the crazyness earlier. The children are in bed nd she says this is a good time in the day lol her English is excellent and I was able to explain what the spot tracker does they were fascinated that you can see right to where their guesthouse is. A wonderful day 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

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