8th January 2015
Miles rode 212 (339km)
For the first hour (60km) it was pretty boring with nice scenery but having ridden in such beautiful scenery of late… I stopped for a coffee in a village and felt quite deflated for the first time in a while. I looked at a map on my iPhone showing where I had travelled over the last 9 months and smiled (I realised today that I had been ‘on the road’ for 9 months yesterday) I remember looking at many maps before I left and thinking how far would I get, the worlds a big place I thought, it doesn’t feel quite so big now. Where will I be in 3 or 6 months?
I wasn’t happy or sad, I was just feeling nothing!
I listened to music as I rode away, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Verve and The Jam were first to play on shuffle and my mood Improved. It didn’t last and by midday I had arrived at Vientiane, the capital of Laos. I had thought I would stop there for the day and night but as I rode in it was a very dull city. I rode around for an hour looking for something interesting but all I saw was 99% dull unattractive offices, car showrooms etc. ok, there was the odd building that impressed such as the arch (picture below).
The wonderful freedom a motorbike gives one is that you can ride around a city and see everything a tourist normally takes days to see. Whoever has the ‘Laos Lonely Planet’ can tell me I missed ‘the hanging gardens of Babylon’ or whatever the Vientiane equivalent is?
I set my sat nav to South and carried on to Pakxan following the Mekong. I stopped for a late lunch in a village about 1/3rd of the way there and as usual I pointed to my stomach and mouth and the woman took me to the kitchen (well, small corner of hut with dirt floor) and pointed to ingredients, I indicated I would have everything. What I received was a lovely noodle soup with pork (75% fat) with crispy edges, there were various other things in there which I assume we’re parts of an animal? Lovely.
I saw my first snake on this trip today, slithering across the road, must have been 1.5 metres long.
Two good things came out of today, lunch (it’s all about the people) and my travels for the next few months are all south towards the Equator, I think?
I’m currently at 18 degrees North of the equator (London is 51 degrees North) and when I’m in Indonesia just south of Singapore I’ll be there.
Pakxan is no tourist attraction, if it wasn’t for the fact that It’s on the bank of The Mekong River it could be any dull town in England!
I walked to the river bank in the evening and across the river the lights of a town in Thailand shone brightly. It’s one of the widest rivers I’ve ever seen. I met Cliff from Australia and had a great evening, I feel positive again!
Did I mention it was cloudy most of the day today!
Did I also mention how beautiful Laos women are!