We woke up to a sunny sky. The air was chilly, but it felt incredible to stand in the sun. We enjoyed a breakfast and some good conversation with Rick, an American journalist traveling on a bicycle. We were exchanging info about Laos and Vietnam as well as some currency. We enjoyed hanging out with Licky, a puppy belonging to the restaurant, while sipping on some tasty café Lao - a little different than café phin in Vietnam, but quite good. Rick had 40km to ride, and so did we, albeit in opposite directions. We were taking it easy, and working on a rather late start. We had the wind at our backs, but felt pretty lazy, and the pedaling was slow. We still managed to make it to Muang Phin in good time, despite making frequent stops. We passed villages full of kids, water buffaloes, and tonnes of roadside charcoal-production. At one of our stops we sat at the side of the road with a few local women packing charcoal. They showed us their black hands and feet and smiled. One of the women took Myles' bike for a spin and they gave us a bag of tamarind pods for the road. They were really beautiful, the women that is.
We grabbed the first guesthouse in town, although it might have been the only one. The town was about the size of Sepon. On our way in we passed the "Hippy Restaurant" and knew instantly where we were to have our dinner.
Myles took off for a couple of hours exploring a side road we passed on the way, and I took it easy doing some reading on the deck outside, and watching the sun go down.
We sat outside at the Hippy restaurant, keeping an eye on our bikes. After ordering some food, a young local guy came over and sat at our table. He was making funny faces, flipping his eyelids back, and having a good laugh. We played along, not knowing what to expect. The other folks in the restaurant didn't seem to pay much attention to him, and so we tried to follow suit. Then he got up, and cracked Myles' fingers one by one, and gave him a solid back rub. When our food arrived he disappeared into the restaurant. Our meals were delicious. Once we were finished, a man sitting at another table in the restaurant told us to give the guy some money. We did, and the massage guy disappeared after thanking us and giving us a little prayer. The same guy invited us to sit with him and his friends at their table. He spoke English. We found out his name was Bay, and met his 4 companions who all turned out to be his workers. We spend the rest of the night drinking lots of BeerLao, and eating some more food, which magically appeared on our plates. Our glasses were magically being filled with more BeerLao. One of the guys had a little bit too much BeerLao and spend most of his time sleeping in Bay's truck afterwards. We were starting to ask ourselves: how much Beerlao is too much Beerlao? Towards the end of the night, Bay invited us over for breakfast at his place, which happened to be on the way to Donghen. At that point we didn't know how much Beerlao was too much Beerlao, but we did know how much Beerlao was enough Beerlao.