Published: March 31st 2009March 27th 2009
I headed next to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, not that you would know when you arrive here, its the quietest, and smallest I have ever seen. When I first arrived, It took a while to find a place, the only place I could find was expensive, so I decided to head off in the morning.
While I was looking for a travel agency, I got destracted by food..... of cause! When I was eating, I met 3 guys from Newcastle, all working here in Vientiane. They showed me a cheaper place to stay, that I then booked into the next day, and we went out. I had a great night out!
That night changed my opinion of the town, and decided to stay a few more nights and take in more of the town.
I met a Canadian guy, Mark, out the front of our hotel....I use that term loosely! and he went on to tell me that he had Cycled through Europe, a few days later we met two more Canadians, and they had decided all to ride to Buddha Park. They asked if I wanted to go, but I had already checked out..... I ended up getting another room, and putting off my bus ticket one more day. So we set of and went for a couple hour ride to Buddha park, A park that has alot of sculptures, all around a huge sculpture of a reclining Buddha. then back, Via the Beer Lao factory. it was about 56km all up. SO that night, we were all a bit sore, but excited after just riding 56km. The Canadian couple asked if they could join Mark, the other Canadian to ride to Vang Vieng and back from Vientiane. 155km each way. they offered for me to go, so I thought it would be a bit of fun, and I went down to change my ticket again.....
So the next day the 4 of us were off, 3 of us on rental bikes. and headed towards Vang Vieng. that day we road 58km to a town we dont know the name of, so we named it "The Town With No Name" I think it suited it!
I noticed that, even though we were only juist outside of Vientiane, as soon as you leave the city, the people are so much nicer then in the city. And maybe its the fact that your on a bike, but along the road you have people waving to you, and yelling, when you stop for a break, everyone wants to talk......if they can speak English it helps, but some speak to you in Lao, they dont mind you cant understand a word! Quite often we would be offered Beer Lao. and sometimes Lao Lao, Whiskey made from sticky rice......extremely strong, and not the best for riding in a straight line! also not recommended for breakfast!
So on from the town with no name, and headed further north, today was to be known the day with all those hills. about a 2 hours into riding. just after we had a lunch break, we turned around a corner only to find a hill that seemed to go on forever, it was the biggest hill of the day, after just having lunch, and being a bit stiff from sitting, didn't make this any easier, when we finally got to the top there was a feeling of joy come over me, not only had I made it to the top of the first hill, without walking one step, but following the huge hill was the huge decent! Surely the best part of riding, and a just reward!
The day was a long one, Every time we thought we had reached the last climb, we would come around another corner, and find another waiting for us. We started looking for a guest house after doing 50 km as we knew it could take a while before we found one. unfortunately it was getting too dark to continue, and we had too hitch. Luckily a but went past soon after we stopped we were able to hop onto. the second day we rode for 72km, then on the bus for 6km. so we only had 25km to do the next day.
The place we stayed the second night was a nice little town just outside of Vang Vieng, once again we didnt no the name of the town, as only a hand full of people could speak broken English, even the English teachers in the school.... but thats common around these parts. when we took a walk down the road to have a look at the town, there were about 20 street stalls, all seeling dried fish, It was quite a view, dried fish handing up for around 200m down the road. we named this village "The Fishing Village". Once again, we met alot of really nice people here, and we had a great time! although riding for a long time I was looking forward to a rest day the next day, only having to ride 25km.
So the next day we all got up bright and early before we knew it, we were in Vang Vieng. Tom and Anna, the Canadian couple decided to catch a bus home from here, Mark wasnt really interested, And I had already seen Vang Vieng, so Mark and I decided rather then staying here for 2 or 3 days resting, we would head back to The Fishing Village. its only a short ride, and its much nicer! After 211km over 4 days I was pretty stuffed, so was relived when just as I was hitting the bottom of a long hill, a truck went past me, very slowly. so I thought I would grab a ride up the hill. It was good to be riding, and just relaxing, although I was being laughed at alot, but Im sort of used to that by now!
So we got to the Fishing village, and relaxed for a day and a half. then off we set, back to Vientiane. Unfortunately only 2 hours in, on the 3rd hill the crank on the bike broke, and so I had to catch a bus home since I couldn't ride any more. I had ridden around 30km. 1/3 of the way back. I was very proud of myself, although slightly disappointed!
The next few days were spent relaxing out the front of the guest house. drinking ALOT of pepsi, and eating alot of Lays.
I booked a bus about 2 weeks ago, and kept putting it off, due to plans changing, they had no problem with it, but when I arrived where I booked it too catch the mini bus to the Bus station, they were confused, and had to ring up to make sure they had a seat for me. At this time I knew it could go wrong! So I arrived at the bus station on a mini bus with everyone else, and they took me too a bus, and I put my bag under the bus as usual, I got on, and they showed me my bed, a single bed, and another guy was sitting in it, at first I was thinking he was just sitting there to talk to his friend, but I realized pretty quick that we were going to be sharing.... I mean this guy wasn't a small guy, a bit shorter, and more built then me and this was a SINGLE BED!!! And there was no way he was going to be sharing the bed, and I was a bit uncomfortable with it. so I went up and said something, and they said come back tomorrow, so I got off, While I was geting my ticket off the guy, the bus left, and I realised my bag was still in it! I talked to the guys at the office for about 2 hours, no one talked English very well, and I can talk all of 3 words in Lao. But eventually after alot of phone calls and all that, they said, come back tomorrow, and talk to the manager, he will have your bag. So I went back to the guest house, and then the next day checked out again, and made my way to the bus station. where once again I waited for 2 hours, the guy never showed up, and the girl at the office, told me to call tomorrow, and gave me his phone number, I got Ting, the guy who works at the guest house to call him, and the manager said, they took my bag off when I got off, but I just left it behind. which I know didnt happen, I was arround the bus station for 2 hours after I got off, and I would have seen them take it off since I was standing right next to the door. So theres not much else I can do. I just have to replace what I need, and move on.