Our 2013 Laos and Cambodia Trip travel blog

Thakhet travel lodge

lodge restaurant

looking at Thailand fromThakhet side of Mekong,

colonial buildings, thakhet

street view

village hospital

many buses are this overloaded

..

mind the pig

Pete fills the bathroom doorway!

noodle soup

our friendly lady chefs

piglet proof fence

view from our guesthouse

luxury @ $ 1.70 NZ

basic but clean

Eucalypt trees, lovely smell.

one of the few green paddys

8am, workers off to the fields

about 60 scooters on this truck

yet another petrol station under construction

factory

christian church

hot stuff

burnoff

the afternoon attire for sun protection

cows roam the roads

dry lands past Seno

lunch in the only shade about

sugar cane off to the factory

rubber to rubbish bins

" you looking at me?"

mum and babies

bags of charcoal for sale

home away from any village, banana patch

roadworks at Lak 35


Tuesday Feb 26th 47k to a very small village

We had some trouble matching the photos to the correct days of text with this last blog….eg some photos of 22nd are in with 23 to 25th text, the download process was troublesome.

Tom and Julie got away early to do most of the 90ks to Seno (also spelt Xeno) from where they will go east into Vietnam. A large group of French backpackers, maybe in their 20s were at our lodge, all of them dreadlocked, tattooed and body pierced, we felt a bit out of place bring 30yrs older and travelling by cycle. We spent the morning getting 5 days of blog sent off, having troubles with Wifi connections at the lodge and then at a café where we had to endure 2 french women smoke 9 cigarettes between them in the hour….stinky wenches….then one asked to see our map…Nickie says” of course”, but under her breath says “ so long as you don’t set it alight”, as she had another cigarette in hand. We shopped for socks to make long gloves to keep the sun off our arms and Nickie got a set of soft grips to put on handlebar extensions, as 5 hrs of propping upper body weight on hands can be uncomfortable. 2.45pm we finally set out of town, a lovely calm ride with little traffic, the ups a bit more strenuous but great downhills. While stopped to buy a huge bunch of bananas and pineapple, (only $1.20NZ)… Werner a german cyclist heading to Luang Prabang stopped to chat. Wished we had got a photo of his setup, a plastic crate on front and back carriers with everything piled inside. He explained the crates are less wind resistance compared to riding with panniers, which increase width and drag…, well he should know about stuff like that, as he is a physicist. About 5 pm we came into a small town where several overloaded buses were off loading passengers and goods. We stopped to ask “where is a guesthouse” everyone looked blank……oh dear , seems we ‘ll be camping tonight…then 10 metres up the hill, a guesthouse ! Thankyou Buddha. Only 10, 000 kip, $1.70 NZ with Air con and comfortable enough with putting out rollmats on the superhard mattress, that was all springs and no stuffing . No shower but we are very used to bucket bathing now. The ladies at the restaurant were so friendly and happy to cook for us and they didn’t hestitate when invited to have their photo taken with Pete. Delicious noodle soup, no meat but with salad greens, lettuce and mint to add and balls of sticky rice to dunk and eat as you would with pieces of bread. In bed by 8pm, Pete had his earplugs in and he seemed settled. Nickie having trouble sleeping , got out her e-reader . How depressing to read Bill Bryson on his travels in Sweden, as he moaned about unfriendly Swedes, rain, terrible food and the expense….ha thought Nickie, he should get himself off to Laos but he’d probably moan about the hard beds and squat loos.

Wed Feb 27th to Lak35 90ks, 4hr:35 ride time, average 19.6 kph

Awake at 6.45 we did our best to make an early get-away in the cool morning. Nickie watched the lady of the guest house chase 2 little black piglets out of the vege patch, throwing clods of dirt, and then barricade the fence with net and iron sheets while Pete oiled up the bikes. 7.45am we pedalled in the shade!!! …and only 28C, so Nickie braved the sun, wearing her bike shorts and T-shirt. At midday when the sun is set to scorch and fanbake mode, she wears long pants and socks fashioned into gloves. Pete has to wear socks with sandals, hes got crazy tiger stripe effect on his feet. After a couple of quick breaks to shake the creases out of our crotches, and knots out of knees and to refuel on fruit and Pepsi we rolled into Seno town, 60ks in less than 3hrs, a great ride. Yesterday we had been feeling the scenery was all much the “same same” but today we noticed some changes. The air was smokey, with sweet gum-tree smells, little sails of soot floating in the air. Large areas of fields are still smouldering from burnoff. Areas of rubber trees, Eucalypt trees, sugar cane fields, massive rice, tapioca and sugar processing factories. About 3 new petrol stations are under construction, in this short stretch of the main state highway. A group of 20 people sat at the road side working with what we think is taro, it looks like a very long, (up to about 600cms) thick white carrot, chunks of it are laid out on blue tarps in the sun. People were on their way to the fields aboard their rotary hoe-tractors. And so many “sabaidees” from the kids, the wee boys make a competition of who can shout out the loudest, they nearly choke themselves with excitement. School kids of all ages on bikes shout “Hello” “thankyou” as well as “sabaidee.” Less traffic now, but still many big trucks, one had something like 60 scooters onboard. They toot then pass us with lots of room to spare, it’s the oncoming traffic that come right onto our side of the road as they overtake that scares the !!!!!!!! out of us,… we have less than ½ metre space. And they speed…more than 120kph we would guess. Haha.. we broke the speed limit a few times today, on downhills through villages we did 40kph in 30k areas. Out of Seno the land was very dry and dusty, scrubby trees. Rain is desperately needed here. Nickie stopped outside of a military base to take a photo, luckily Pete had read the “no photography” warning signs. Lunch 2.30pm at a roadside “shrine” was a welcome break from the 42C heat, we finished off our breakfast pineapple. Pete made a biscuit offering to the shrine. Passing through villages we have been energised by the loud “pop”music playing, some of it has an irish/celtic sound. Arrived at Lak35 , at the junction of the road out of Savannakhet, got a guesthouse and ate noodle soup again for dinner. Aussie backpackers, Chris and Hanna whom we had met back in Thakhet , with Ryan from BC, Canada arrived on a truck from Savannakhet and decided to stay here too.



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