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

Wednesday 24th December Thakek to Ban Huay Thong
61.77 k's Average Speed 12.33 kph Cycling time 5 Hr(s) 0 Min. Max speed. 43 kph Max temp 28°C
Heavy Undulations/Hilly Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (Lao Kip) $0.00 Standard, Camping

Left about midday only expecting to cycle 30 k's, as we were told there is a guesthouse there. There is not! So we asked where the next one was and was told about 15 k's – not so bad.

When we eventually reached this guesthouse, it was full. So with 40-50 ks to the next one we were in a fix.

Later – in the dark – we came upon a village, a small community of about 30 or so families. They let us sleep in a Christian church, that was put up by some (so called) “missionaries”. Intrigued, we asked about the “Falang Baan” (Roughly translated - European church) they said they were all Christian here? We asked them what day it was? Don't know, was the answer, What significance does tomorrow have? Don't know again, Do you still go to the Temple? - “of course”, we are Lao, it became rather pointless asking any more questions, as they appeared to have no real understanding of “Christianity” regardless of the denomination. I think it is fair to say, all Christians are aware of Christmas, whilst many celebrate on different days and in different ways. Nonetheless all are aware. Most of the Islamic world too, is aware of Christmas. Clearly some Buddhists are not. As Laos is predominantly Buddhist, today and tomorrow are normal working days.

But hey, we got a roof over our heads, courtesy of the village head man. Neither Lee nor I are Christian, however, we feel people can believe what they want, as long as they do not force those beliefs on others. We promise not to force our beliefs on them :-)

This village is VERY poor, it has no electricity and zero services. It does however, have a very caring, generous population.

The ride was mostly uneventful, except for this accident.....

We arrived a few minutes after, so there was nothing we could do to help....

A bunch of people were watching two “cocks” tearing each other apart – great fun and much laughter..... Something you should really take your kids to, or perhaps a bullfight in Spain.

Saw the use of some of Australia's aid dollars – nice to see them put to good use. The sign saddens me (only me) as it says “Funded by the government of Australia”..... Nothing wrong with that you may say.....? I think it should say “Funded by the People of Australia”..... What do you think? On the whole I have found Australian people to be, warm generous and caring... Let them take the credit, not bloody governments.

Our home for the night..... :-)

Catchya Later..........

Thursday 25th December Ban Huay Thong to Seno
44.63 k's Average Speed 12.26 kph Cycling time 3 Hr(s) 38 Min. Max speed. 39 kph Max temp 28°C
Heavy Undulations/Hilly Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (Lao Kip) $0.00 Standard, Camping


Left the village early after a long “photo shoot” with the villagers, My stats are short a few k's as I had not put my computer on properly, so if you are using the distances as a reference add 4-5 k's. I tried to get some bore water, before we left, but could not get the pump to prime....

It was a cold morning and the villagers had all started fires to warm themselves.... The villagers sat for a photo(s), in this one, the village Head Man is on my right (On the left of the picture)....

We decided to visit the School and see if we could talk with the teacher. The kids get 3 hrs of school per day (if they can afford it). The teacher is paid 800,000 Kip (About US$95.00, AUD$140.00) per month, salaries are dependent on the number of kids taught. He was teaching (we counted) 17 children, grades one two and three. One of the children took this photo.....

Schools usually do a morning (Younger Kids) and the afternoon for the older kids. Teachers often teach in one school in the morning and another school in the afternoon... The inside of this school was very spartan.... The kids had few or no materials to record their studies...

You may notice in this picture of the schools inside, that the desks face different ways... The front blackboard has a line down it. To the left of the picture it is grade one, grade two to the right. The blackboard on the left of the picture is for grade Three. The floor is dirt...

Oh... and this is the little girl that took the picture – we did not want to leave her out :-)

A few hours later, we found two children with a broken chain on their bike... We succeeded in removing two broken links and re-joining the chain, however, our chain was incompatible with the cheap chain they had, so the repair was no good... The chain constantly dismounted the front chainring. The little boy then thought he would blame us for his broken chain....

Lee let him know how bad his “karma” would be if he persisted in telling lies... :-)

The repair took a while and they both were terrified of being late for school (Afternoon School)... So we asked them to wheel the bike to the village. We located a repair shop and bought them a new chain. We told them to leave the bike at the shop and that we would fix it, whilst they ran to school.

The owner of the shop assured them it would be ok. It cost about $5.00 to replace the chain, including labour. Given all the faffing about, we should have done this first up.

Catchya Later....

Friday 26th December Seno to Savannakhet
30.48 k's Average Speed 17.11 kph Cycling time 1 Hr(s) 47 Min. Max speed. 49 kph Max temp 31°C
Heavy Undulations/Hilly Road Conditions: Brilliant Overnight Accom: (Lao Kip 110,000) $20.00 Standard, Poor

Left around 10.30 am after completing our washing and other chores. Brilliant road, best in Laos so far, wide cycle path and smooth surface... We averaged over 18 KPH for the bulk of the ride... followed by a slow crawl in town.

Savannakhet is one of the largest cities in Laos and boasts a hotel/casino complex. We did not go in, although there is often heavily subsidised food/accommodation options – if you gamble.

The complex is about 6-7 k's from the center of town.

There is a wide variety of accommodation in town, much of it overpriced and poor value/quality. There are new ones popping up everywhere so you will certainly find better than us... If you have the time to look.

As we got here fairly early, we may forgo our scheduled rest day tomorrow and press on, although we do want to explore more.... We will see :-)

Found a nice vegetarian restaurant in the centre of town, without a doubt, the best vegetarian food I have ever eaten.....

You can order dishes that look (and taste) like real fish, real prawns, and a variety of other meats... The taste and texture is incredible... It is defiantly an art form and just shows that with a bit of creativity we all need never eat meat. There are NO animal products used in this shop. Despite having a modest appearance the food was presented superbly and the young Chinese/Lao lady owner spoke impeccable English. She was the cook, her cheerful husband acted as the waiter... He does not speak English.

The main roads of the city have street lights, however the smaller connecting roads often do not, but we never felt threatened walking the streets during the night....

Catchya Later....

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