Pakxan to Ban Phasouk 119km
Ban Phasouk to Vientaine33km
There's no such thing as a quiet day on a long distance cycle tour, although today I only cycled 5km.
Today Fiona went in for her physical. Came out shining, and with a new chain. Thanks Lao Bike. Everything is looking good for the next 5000km.
While that was happening, I was going to do some tidying up. The other day I had another punture. Back wheel again, and this time the magic wouldn't work. Had to put another tube in, and there was green slime everywhere inside the tyre. Messy. That was at 120km, so I decided to look for a guest house. Found one in a tiny village, down a back street. It was pretty rough, the only light that worked in the unit was in the bathroom, but that's okay. Bonus was the village. I found some yummy cowpat (fried rice with vegetables ....with only a few pieces of pork snuck in), and watched the village recreate. The men of the village were playing boules ( French bowls), on a specially built "pit". There must have been 20 of them, and while two pairs played, the others drank beer and haranged the players. Then four others played, and they were good, exceptionally skilled. I asked whether this was a regular Saturday night event...Oh no. Every night.
The teenage boys were playing kicking volleyball, and they were very skilled. The teenage girls were playing badminton. And the younger kids were spinning tops, playing with yoyos, and hoola hoops. And this was all happening on the village "green", read "red dirt". Yep more possibilities for Hanmer Springs ....
And tonight I saw a repeat of the same on the banks of the Mekong, here in Vientaine. The river is not really attractive here. Close to the bank is a very wide sand bar, covered in scrub. About half a km away is the river, still very big, and on the other side....Thailand. But the banks in Laos are heavily used in the evening. There is a huge market, probably 500 stalls. A road is closed to traffic, and walkers, joggers, skaters, cyclists are free to use it. Tonight there must have been 300 people taking part in a huge Jazzasize session.There was also Badminton, Boules and kick volleyball, radio control cars racing, and kids playing fitness games. And apparently this happens every night, as the sun sets over the river.
But that was not my highlight today. Today I met a Chinese cyclist and her partner from Chile, and their 14 month child. They've been on the road for several years, loving life and it's adventures. He was towing a four wheeled trailer, with baby and luggage, with only one usable gear on his bike. They will be in NZ in November. Look out for them.
And I met a Belgium/French couple, who are cycling in a similar direction to me. We might even get to cycle together in Central Asia. But still not my highlight.
Then I thought I would have a look at the tube that wouldn't magically mend.....oh my....a big hole. No matter..a patch, and I will have a spare tube. But oh bother. My glue tube has gone dry. The bike shop only sells repair kits with glue, patches and seven vital tools.....no thanks. I go to a mini market, because they have everything ( even Crunchie chocolate and Chesdale Cheese). I find some glue, and a bottle brush....I've been looking for one since my drink bottles got disgustingly yucky in Indonesia.
The glue is very fluid, and very stickie. It smeers all over the tube, and drips onto my shorts, unnoticed. I lean on my elbows trying to compress the patch on the tube. My elbows stick to my shorts. It really hurts pulling them apart, and I have a bald patch on my normally hairy arm. The patch holds......for two hours, then falls off. No not my highlight.
Highlight today was skyping my pal Mr Abbot. Fantastic chatting. Fantastic catching up with all going on in his life. I invite more of my friends to "make my day". Skype address: GrumGoesGlobal. A very very very close second highlight, was skyping Juliet. I hadn't spoken to her in four days.