Dedicated to a wonderful Mother Jean Noble 31/5/1929 - 20/8/2007 - may we never take our mothers for granted. - Goodbye Mum


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Laos Information - Jan 09

Prices in Aussie Dollars

Friday 19th December Pakkading to Namthorn
51.41 k's Average Speed 14.10 kph Cycling time 3 Hr(s) 39 Min. Max speed. 35 kph Max temp 28°C
Heavy Undulations Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (40,000 Lao Kip) $7.50 Standard, Poor

Left our guesthouse in glorious cycling weather... a couple of hours later we stopped to assist a Motorcyclist who had a flat tyre... After we got the tyre off the rim we saw that he had torn off the valve – so nothing we could do for him....

He has a long push to the next village, where hopefully he will get help.

Stopped to chat with a guy on a modified “Delta” trike.. He was unable to walk, but the trike gave him mobility... Spoke pretty good English....

After we pulled into our “guesthouse” we met a young french couple, who have been on the road for about one year... We joined them for dinner at a local café. They bought a bike in Bangkok and have been cycling Thailand, China, Vietnam and Laos.. for the last few months... It was great to speak with them...

Lots of interesting people and places on todays ride, but little for our diary.... Catchya Later...

Saturday 20th December Namthorn to Baan Phonn Sawan (Phonetic)
57.76 k's Average Speed 12.94 kph Cycling time 4 Hr(s) 28 Min. Max speed. 44 kph Max temp 31°C
Heavy Undulations/hilly Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (40,000 Lao Kip) $7.50 Standard, Fair/Poor

One of those days... How often have we heard that? Well today was not a good day for us... It started at breakfast, whilst we were sitting eating, a truck load of Dogs were being transported. They were crammed in cages (literally crammed) and the cages were stacked 3 or 4 high. The look on the faces of the Dogs, was one of terror.

As we finished breakfast (Vegetarian) – except where it is simply impossible – I only eat rice/fruit/veggies – In addition Lee will eat fish, but has not eaten meat for a week or more. We both are not losing weight, or energy. Another reason why is here.... Such is the poverty, humans are reduced to this – trading in Rats...

They are sold for about 10,000 Kip (About AUD$1.70 per kilogram) - Whole weight..... What can I say???

As we cycled on we met a young couple touring by Motorcycle, they too had seen the “Dog Truck” and were upset by it, The conversation was dominated by it.... They are Dutch, on a two/three month holiday and hired the bikes for an amazing 10,000 Kip ( About AUD$1.70) per day. Both bikes were near new.

I do know how they get these prices, as in Thailand, a young person will often rent his bike out to make the repayments – risky for the owner, sadly an economic necessity for some.

Moving on we were presented with a very distressing site... A man had crashed his motorcycle, both he and his son were injured – the boy not seriously. He however was very serious... People were standing over them when we arrived... They had stuffed “straw” under him to try and make him comfortable, however he was writhing in pain and moving so much it did no good.

We stopped to administer “First Aid”. He was in shock and had severe facial injuries, eye socket and jaw appeared smashed. His upper lip was mutilated. We tried to ascertain an ambulance had been called – THERE ARE NONE.

After much discussion we found out his family had been found and contacted.. They had organised a vehicle to take him the 6 kilometres to what can only be described a “medical centre”.... We treated the boys head with alcohol from our first aid kit and generally comforted him.

The police arrived after about 30 minutes, but could do little. We presented the victim with a bag containing wet and dry dressings, saline, and paracetamol/codeine (Panadeine <sp>) for pain. Quite a slice of our kit, however, the Police did say they probably would not have much at the medical centre?

Oh, BTW, the man standing at the top left of the picture, clearly has his own story.... We did not get to ask.....

Catchya Later.....

Sunday 21st December Baan Phonn Sawan (Phonetic) to Thakek
51.73 k's Average Speed 12.70 kph Cycling time 4 Hr(s) 4 Min. Max speed. 42 kph Max temp 33°C
Heavy Undulations/Hilly Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (75,000 Lao Kip) $13.75 Standard, Very Poor

Our distance is governed by accommodation options, to a large extent. We could get up early and heads down, push push push... But we have learned that is not the way to enjoy a long cycling adventure – at least not for us.

Our first stop was to the hospital, to check if the man injured above, had survived the night. He has, although, because there are no doctors, no money, and no facilities, he has had no treatment. His wife and three of their children were there cleaning him with bottled water. The picture bellow does nothing to highlight the filth this man was laying on/in.

There are no sheets, the covers were putrid. The ONLY dressings, pain relief, etc.. was what we have given him. His situation was hopeless... We helped as much as we could financially, but it's never enough.

There are two nurses working there and it is open 24 hrs. They are paid AUD$85.00 per month (Eighty five Aussie dollars) (39 – US$58 - 42). They undergo two years training to become nurses. I do not want to be unkind here, so I will shut up.......

Before we went to the hospital we had “brunch” with a German couple on a quick 3 week cycle from Vientiane to Phnom Pen in Cambodia, where they fly home from.

It was nice meeting them – we found out we had cycled through their home town – small world.

Catchya later.....

Monday 22nd December Thakek
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Heavy Undulations/Hilly Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (75,000 Lao Kip) $13.75 Standard, Very Poor

Rest Day..... One of Laos largest towns, where we want to explore. We stayed in a resort the first night, but, despite it looking nice in the picture, they should be bulldozed, it was atrocious. We attempted to eat at their restaurant – that too was terrible. The noise just beggared belief, they said they would turn it down, we did not believe them. Despite being half a k from our hut it was deafening until 2am. There were NO guests in the restaurant.

We moved on to another terrible hotel. The first room they gave us had a wet bed, compliments of a dripping ceiling from the room above. Before we found the wet bed – (they had simply changed the sheet and put a blanket over it) I went for a shower, I was almost electrocuted by the shower, it was sparking and making dreadful noises and I was dancing on the wet floor.

To add insult to injury, I sat on the toilet, to do what comes naturally. Even this simple act turned out very painful. They had repaired the toilet seat with “duct tape”... No problem with that, but they had missed a crack – and I did not see it either – The toilet seat “nipped” (Pinched) my bottom causing me to yelp in agony, leaving a very painful blue line on my rear end...

With all this shouting, Lee thought I had lost the plot..... I am afraid of bathrooms now.....

We have now moved to a third “resort”, whilst in better condition it is still poor value at 110,000 kip (AUD$20.00)...

But we have had little sleep the last two nights, with noise, mosquitoes, dripping water, insane staff that get up in the middle of the night, making intolerable noise and beds made of coconut fibre (Concrete), although in fairness I sleep OK on concrete nowadays. We needed the “real” rest day. This room is big enough for our bikes and QUIET.

There are some lovely views across the Mekong River.... Here is one of Nakhon Phanom Thailand, from our vantage point in Laos...

Not much more today, Catchya Later.....

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