Well, we started early (6 am) and it was fab. Nice and warm, not steaming. By 10 o`clock, it had begun to heat up but the sun was not too strong - I would imagine the best you can get for cycling over here.
Villages, temples and the further we progressed, the nicer the people became. We stopped for lunch in pretty spot with lots of plants and hand carved seating - very pleasant. Having no lingua and not being able to follow the phrase book quickly for conversation I ordered the food using sign language.
I even managed to explain vegetarian bits for Teresa. She has ended up with a fabulous meal containing heaps of veg, herbs and eggs, while I ended up with nothing. I reluctantly ordered again and received a vegie dish reloaded and it was absolute heaven.
No more haggling, locals are 100% honest and we are beginning to feel like we pay too little. It is so nice to be completely off the beaten track.
40km from the start we turned off to a national park to have glimpse at a waterfall marked on our slightly useless map. The sign said 14km left to “Tadleuk” waterfall - thought it was a liitle like “Tadley Uk” (Teresa’s home town). Well 14km turned into over 20km of nightmare gravel road with hill climbing and waking instead of cycling. Nevertheless it was worth it. A magnificent place with nobody there, and a lunar landscape of water shaped stones and waterfall at very small scale (middle of the dry season). I dropped my feet into a circular carved pool of cool water and got an instant massage by the little fish trying to eat my feat. PRICELESS!!! Monkeys, dogs and cats, plus an army of dragon flies and colourful moths.
Relaxed to high heaven, we finally left dreading the trip back to the main road. 4km out we decided to hitch and not cycle the nightmare bit again. 2 minutes later a pickup truck with monks picked us up. On arrival the monks told us that we are most welcome to join them all the way to Vientiane. We were going opposite direction so we tried to pay but they sad that they could not accept. I took a picture promising to put it on our blog , and shook their hands but Teresa being female was not allowed to. We were trying to get to a large town 60km away but this was a little ambitious - the darkness got us earlier and we capitulated and found a place to camp on the banks of the Mekong river. We asked permission of a farmer harvesting leaves (it looked like tobacco but was something different) then settled in to a river view of a Thai town with some excellent live music kicking off.
What must it have been like when Laos was under a stronger communist regime, listening to the same “freedom” music playing from the other side of Mekong?