Would you believe it? It's a public holiday today, it hasn't rained in months and then, it rains. What are the chances of that? Mind you, the Laotians ( yes that does mean the people from Laos) didn't seem bothered and we quite liked it (being reserved English we couldn't get excited or anything). Mind you, I would have preferred a proper tropical downpour rather than the mizzle. I understand this to be a fantastically English word (created in Cornwall apparently) to describe miserable drizzle. Only the poms could come up with a word like that!
One guy we met today was definitely enjoying his day off. We pulled in at a shop for our first drink stop after an hour of pedalling. It was 8am and the guy was firmly clutching his half empty (or full?) bottle of 50% proof rice wine. As we sipped our cans of cold coffee (delish) he impressed us with his grasp of Farang (foreigner) language. "Un deux trois..." That was it. I tried to explain that Farang was not a country by showing him our digital maps of the world. " We are English" his silent reply was easy to understand. "Whatever"....
It was time to go. The bill was 13,000, I gave them a 20,000 note, we got 2,000 in return. So, score for subjects of language, geography and maths? Nil
We met another cyclist coming the opposite way. Happy, smiley Tatiana (from Austria not Russia) left home 7 months ago and had pedalled her way out here via Turkey, Iran, Dubai (where bizarrely her original got bike stolen), India, Thailand and Laos. We chatted away under the shade of a tree about life, western decadence, need, greed and of course bicycles. She'd left home planning to go around the world in about 3-4 years but was now going home because she missed her boyfriend too much. We rode off, sad to see her go thinking of something she'd said. "We can have our dreams & wishes and maybe they'll come true but if not they'll at least give you a direction". We like that....
Noodle soup lunch came and went. Later in the day we stopped off at some fruit stalls. " How much for the watermelon?" "10,000" "ok". The Laos lady doing her local shop nearly choked as she giggled to herself repeating the words 10,000 and something about Falangs. We'd been ripped! Still, happy with our 80p investment we sat down at the nearby bus stop and got stuck in
We rode on, covering a total of 117km with relative ease. The traffic got a bit heavier as we approached our final destination of Thakek.
Guest house found and riding clothes rinsed out we tip toed off through the puddles as the heavens opened again, this time making up for the meagre performance earlier in the day.