Friday, 21 August 2009


I found Laos to be literally a breath of fresh air, the quiet road through the rolling tropical hills was in stark contrast to the “hustle & bustle” which is much of Vietnam. Thus far the people seem extremely friendly, and there is a continuous chorus of “sapa-dii” (hello) emanating from the stilted bamboo houses (complete with satellite dish for TV reception). In these hill villages the younger children often run around naked (why not? – the climate is good and after a swim in the river they can simply “drip-dry”). As we’ve approached the Mekong valley life appears to have become a bit more modern – but the locals remain friendly. My biggest problem is that my bike (Old Saartjie) is so worn-out that I can’t even use the middle chain ring anymore (a major problem on a hilly road!). I’ve looked around for spares, but around here there is nothing suitable (anyway, I don’t have any money). I spent almost an entire day paying some attention to Old Saartjie and fitting used spares which I've previously replaced on Leana's bike. I initially wrote and published this report in the town of Savannakett on the Mekong river, where we spent 2 days (Thailand is on the far banks - see recently-built Friendship II bridge in background of photo). Since then we have moved further up the Mekong to the town of Tha Khaek. Daily distances cycled in Laos have been:- Xepon 54 km; Donghen 133 km; Savannakett 80 km; and Tha Khaek 131 km. Total distance cycled since Cape Town is 45650 km.


peterz said...

Starting to get worried that you guys had disapeared off the face of the earth -no news -- fallen into some scroupolous slave traders hands. Good to see you are still around. All is undertood now .Enjoy


E. and Z. said...

Glad to see that you're still on the road and I must vehemntly agree that Laos has been a much needed breath of fresh air after a trying cycling experience in Vietnam... I'm sad to be leaving in just a few days! Hope you manage to find the only decent bike shop in Vientaine to get your much needed parts!