The Loop and Kong Lor Cave! Fontostique!!!

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January 28th 2007
Published: January 28th 2007
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Current Mood: Aching but laughing!!

So the move was a good laugh!! On the 16th we had planned to leave but on waking we found that my now good buddy Steven had spent all of his funds and was unable to pay for his Guesthouse hahahaha!!! Being in Laos this is an issue as there isnt any way to get money if you have none to change in the beginning!!! oooooh and no ATM's!!! Luckily and many thanx to Nessa (AKA bogie) i had my leaving Pressie in the form of a twenty pound note in my pocket so changing it gave us a few thousand Kip to get through the day and get off the isand on the next day!!!

So skint i really chilled out for the day at Reggae bar not drinking which was a nice change! We met a few people in there who were surprised to see us that day as we had already done our goodbye's the previous night so all really hungover we just lulled about for the day and in the evening until the lights went out and then to my pit!!

the next morning i was up well early (6am) as our plans that would have taken us to Pakse had changed and instead we were catching an earlier bus up to Savannaket to get some money changed for the approaching week!! pre planning sucks in Countries like these!! So by 8am we were off the island and onto the main land looking around for our bus feeling completely nackered!! the Bus took nearly 10 hours and on arrival and through having to eat something to keep energy up we found ourselves rocking up at this sleepy town with no money and no way of getting to a hostel!! with literally a dollar between us until the next morning we had to blag our way to a guesthouse which was a good laugh and also borrow some money from our new landlord for food which we returned to him promptly on getting money from the Bank!! As far as Savannaket goes its not the ideal place to spend any great deal of time!! its great for internet, Banking and crossing the Border to Thailand!! other than that there is nothing there!! after two nights in this quiet town spending them watching star movies we left and were on route to Tha-khaek with plans of doing the loop (4-500 km bike ride through the southern hills with our target being Kong lor Cave!)

On arrival to Tha-Khaek we went to the Travel lodge which abled us to meet a few guys pretty quickly that were also doing the loop at the same time as us!! Philippe (a french guy and a very funny Boy) and Mongnous (Magnus/Magnum oooooh and a god dam winging Norwegian hahahaha alright mate hahah) were the guys Steve and I teamed up. Earlier that day we met a guy Called Don who write for Travel fish and is basicly what we all know as a travel writer. He had been about early that morning and had to do a border jump to thailand to get himself a new visa! on return he bought back two full chickens that we ate with plenty of beer laos!! Shout out to!! you were an inspiration! Later with Pre planning the Adventure we felt it only right to sit with the local Ex pats and partake in a few drinking sessions! off to bed and pretty pissed but full of loop knowledge!

So the next morning im up and cold showered and down for some breaky! after doing some fair wells and getting the Bikes loaded up (that were incidently deathtraps supplied by MR kooooooo!!!!!!!) we Had plans to set to the Market in order to get ourselves some sunnies for the approaching Dirt track roads (that work soooooooo well!)

Due to my Hangover and Magnus being a bird doing his hair or something we got off a little late not before having a laugh at the size of Steve on his Mo-ped! Onto the road and down to the Beginning of the loop!! Ahh this was bliss hahaha!!

The initial Direction is Nakai Stopping at various points to see caves and food venders selling all sorts of dodgy foods!! The road was so Dusty so its pretty difficult going so after dodging arctic lorries, Dust, Stones, sand and animals including Steve haha we finally after a really long day got to a place for dinner where myself and Mongnous had a game of snooker!! he won but i let him!! the wihner!! After food we had a good hour or twos riding that eventually got us to Nakai where we checked into a little guesthouse to learn that if you dont eat in daylight hours you dont eat!!! There is no lighting but it all added to the adventure!!!

Bed early and up even Earlier (due to Roosters) the next planned Stop (stupidly) was Kong-lor.
so of we head to breaky and then out onto the road where the day really turned out to be fun packed!

All of us now well accomplished dirt track riders we are ploughing through the terrain like bats out of hell and around 20km down route just over a a dodgy bridge my Bike packs up!! looking down i could see that the Drive mechanism to the back wheel had completely come out of the socket and to be honest this pissed me off!! on getting the bikes we noticed my back wheel was buckled which i reckon contributed to the state the bike turned out to be in!! So we all stop and wait for a truck!! not to long after a pick up passes and we flag him for a ride back into town so Back to nearly Nakai we go!! $6 and two hours later the bike is road worthy and after my hitch and the guys catch up we all (once again) ploughed in the direction of Kong-lor! Not even to the bridge this time we hit another problem! Steve gets a puncture!! Ahh shite!! luckily there was this little village just around the corner so we pushed the bike there and got the puncture fixed!! what a day!!!!! off we go again...... 3rd time lucky or is it bad luck comes in threes????? 5-10 km down the road the puncture re occurs and now we are all screwing!! with the day completely ticking by our location is never going to be hit!!! Next stop!! the nearest village!! On arrival we clock a place to get the bike sorted (AGAIN) and check into the Guesthouse local to the repair shop! did i mention it took all day to do 20Km??? hahahah

This Village was quite good!! it wont be there in a few years as there are plans to build a damb there and with construction already underway the area will be under water by 2008!!
So a rest up and a beer we hit the sack After the guys get washed up in the river and are up promptly with the Roosters!!

On the road we cross the doomed bridge and not 5 minutes past it Steve gets his Puncture again!!! fucking screwing now hahahah so back we go get it properly fixed and hit the dirt roads for a solid day of riding!! The plans of Kong-lor seemed a little much to be fair and at the point of hitting Lak Xao we had further problems! We pulled into a bank and to be fair from the start my bike was doing some twitchy things!! luckily on pulling past a garage in the town and now on good roads the bike completely packed up!!! on inspection at the garage it looked like starter motors but when going back the next morning and often through the previous evening i learnt that the engine was nackered and probably had been for ages!!! My arse twitched properly. i thought my trip was done and im on my way back to the UK!!! luckily the price of Mechanics here are as cheap as Vietnamese beer so 10 US dollars later and a nights sleep in between i had a new engine with proper changing gears and all sorts!!! Happy Days........ Its all Gravy!!

Lak Xao to Kong-lor hahaha how great are we for making time?!?!?!?! from here on in the roads were great and after passing Nahin by mistake we hit a view point that looked breathtaking!! (if anybody sees the View point went coming from the direction of Lak Xao you have gone 6 km to far) So back down the winding roads we see the turn off and head down it!! here the roads worsen slightly!! Its a 40km dirt road with various types of terrain!! it begins with just bad road for around 10 km mixing in with some better stuff!! then basicly you hit sand like parts that you must go slow through or your tail end swings out!!! An hour it took us to do as i said we are ledgendary riders!!! hahahah

8km from the Boat points we spot a guesthouse suggested to us by Don! Its the 2nd one of the two you will see the first being a rich tourists jaunt!!! 23 dollars a room as apposed to 4! So we check in and take in the view from the wooden Hut looking over the river!! this place is awesom!! tomorrow we plan to see the Caves! on the evening we went for some expensive ruba dub dub and hit the hay being typically woke early by hunting kids and squeeling Roosters!! go get em boys hahahah!!

so out of the Room for 6 am im on the decking prepping the writing for this blog and watching the 6 year olds hunting for grubs and insects for food and potions i presume!!! after laughing with them and running around like a dick for abit the lads got up and we made our plans!!!

Steve and Mongnouse opted for the boat trip down to tha cave and myself and Phil went with the cheaper alternative........... take the bikes down to the entrance!!! so after a sweet breaky we split up for the day and off on the bikes we go!!! 8km in 15 mins wernt to bad on these roads as they constantly change but on arrival to the little village that displays on a big pannel all of the prices out side we were greeted with the chants of Farrang Farrang, Sebaidee Sebadee!!!(foriegner foriegner helloo helllloooo!!!!) The children are hilarious!!!

So in Phil and i go to be greeted by a local lady who points us in the direction of a parking point under her house!!! Parked up and down to the river we are greeted by numerous boat drivers and who seems to be the head of the village uncle NOUM!! So we pay the bill of $11 between us and into the boats we get!! the boat is so low in the water that again the scale around seems bigger and the area was simply Paradise!! After being on the for around ten minutes we approach the cave where we are told to jump out whilst the guys carry it over the rapids and into Kong Lor!! Back on the boat we get and for 7km we slowly make our way by boat through this eeery cave by torch light getting off occasionally to have a scranmble about on the dry land and internal beaches!! After 7km you get through to the other side to see some remote parts of the land that soon wil be developed and i think spoilt!! However we rock up to this village where we get food and i show the kids some neat new tricks including the missing finger and eating the eye ball gag hahahah they loved the popping cheak hahahah nutters!!!

Back on to the boats after an hour maybe we go back through the cave passing Steve and Magnum on there way to the village we just left!! they were impressed with there alternate trip until they broke down, got back late and were charged the earth hahahahahaha!! (i think they still enjoyed it!)

so after trauling back through the cave which is absolutely massive and really strange we get back to the dock type area and head up for the boats after thanking our guides!! on arrival for the bikes we are stopped by the same lady from earlier who asks if we would like to join them for some food!! so yeah of course we say and in we go to this lovely wooden laos home!! When we had eaten Mr Noum came in and began to talk with us in very broken English!!! we chatted for a while and they offered us a home stay obviously for a fee but a dam site cheaper than we had been paying so we both say yeah and off we go to our other lodging to grab our Bags!!! Here we go im thinking....... just what i want to be doing when travelling!!! living like the locals!!!

About 3km down the road we hit a problem. i explained earlier that the roads forever change!! with the dust coming from the road they forever seal it with water jets!! so travelling at about 20km an hour philippe being ahead looses control and bites the dust!! looking up in shock i think i must have sped up to see if he was ok when my back end swung around and i hit the deck!!! Ahh shit........... the Back end swung out to the Left and the front to the right!! i put my right foot down to control it but at a rate my foot got trapped between the peddle and the brake and i got dragged down!! on falling the bike landed on me and i slide where ever the bike wanted to go!!! At the point of Haulting i looked down at my foot to see that a few layers of skin had gone from the ankle but in shock this didnt hurt!!! i looked up, still lying with the bike on me to see if Philippe was ok when Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh shit my foot was pinned to the deck by the brand new engine which i must say is as hot as the exhaust!!! Shit i shouted and lying there i tried to kick the bike away!!! the FLESH IS BURNING AWAY hahahah but it was and it was hapnin to the already open wound hahahaha was such a funny thing!!! anyway jumping up laughing with Phil all the local farmers come running to see us laughing and pointing but really to see we are ok like!!! Shit what an afternoon!!!

So back on the poo dirty bikes we go get our bags leave a note for the lads and check out!!! on return to the village we were driving like grannies!! hahahahah a you looked shit scared Phil hahahah!!!

So back at the village we live the true lifestyle in a night (if that is possible!?!?!) The family Slaughter a chicken for us and prepare a dinner of Sticky and steamed rice, Chicken with Cucumber and some other stir fried thing in a soup type dish and beers!! Whilst the dinner was being prepared The head of the house 'Uncle Noum' took us to bathe in the River just like the locals!!! my ankle was sore and the water was cold but it was well funny!!! We then went back up to the house to have our food which was stonking!! After eating we all sat down with the family around the floor and learnt a little Laos and tought some english!! at the end i gave my cheap copy of the lonely planet to Uncle N which he was well pleased with!!!

When all was settling he pointed us to where we sleep and we hit the deck sleeping on Thai rugs with big cushions and thick blankets!! it was well homely!!

In the morning after a reasonable nights kip we got up washed again but this time in the house and sat for breakfast with them!! the plan for today is to have a go at hitting the good road and doing the return Journey in one!!! checking my foot all seems fione so after thanking the family and saying fairwell we went to meet the boys and got back to the road!! it took a good day but we all got back safely although from working the bike i did my foot some damage and could barely put it to the floor!!! the ankle looked like Nanna Pegs hahahahhaa!!!

Back in the lodge we check into the dorm and get on the beers around the fire with the expats and Don and other guests wanting to know how the trip went blar did blar!! The night was a great one and we plan to hang around for two at least so my foot can rest and we can sort some things out!!

the following day was spent eating and treating my hoof to some rest!! Phil did a border jump and came back with more chicken from Thailand and the other two lads went out in search of fag papers!!! on return Steve and Mongnous was pissed as after drinking Rice wine!! Hahahaha as the night drew in Steve got abuse as he fell asleep infront of many clowns including myself!!!

The morning after we all woke a nd packed up pretty slowly for our departure!! Philippe was heading south ans me and steve North to Vientienne!!! after saying good bye we went to the station and got a 6 hour bus to the capital!! this is where i am whilst writing this so when finished ill think of something to bore all of you guys with when in Bangkok about some of Northern Laos!!!

I hope everybody is ok and really do miss you all!!! anytime you wanna chat just mail me and ill be intouch as soon as i can Kids!!! love you all!!! Thanx for the comments, please keep them coming!! i love you all tonnes!!!!

Love from a brummy................... your good buddy and brother


PS... Han i hope your ok! x Laos next time!!

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28th January 2007

hyya nik
looks to be a fantastic place to be, sounds like u gathering some great memories on these travels son. as for the wounds on ur leg u allways did big up the pain,hahaha, its payback for taking the piss out of han,s injury. loving the bloggs and pics mate so keep em coming, c u l, luv ya.
7th February 2007

from your myspace friend
i love all the pics and your detailed blog. it's really awesome! the children are all so beautiful and the entire experience seems so full of thrill and life..every part of it. thanks for sharing so much of your journey with all of us. x-han
19th February 2007

your leg
hope its ok...see skin melting experiences are not be careful xx
18th April 2007

Steves old man
Hi mate Im Steves dad and have enjoyed all your writings and the pics of my lanky idiot.Take care and I hope you keep in touch with him Bern

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