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Published: January 18th 2013
Laos ReceptionThakhek (Laos) to Hué (Vietnam): 11th Jan 2013 - 17th Jan 2013
It was hard saying goodbye to Laos' roadside curiosity and friendliness!
Distance covered so far (since 20 Dec): 1879.90 km (YES! Over 1000 miles!)
Bouyant from a remarkable game of scrabble (Andy went 'all-out' in his first two goes, and was rather proud of himself, Mel got 'crazed' on a triple word score), the cycle on from Thakhek was predestined to be easy-peasy.
It wasn't. What followed was 5 days into a strong headwind. Now... cyclists may be able to appreciate the pain of a headwind, non-cyclists may not. As an analogy, imagine you are making a cake. Not too complicated, you say.... But wait... instead of whisking in eggs and sugar.... you are whisking setting concrete. AND - the only implement you have to whisk the concrete into your cake, is a floppy flannel. Yup - that is what it feels like to cycle 500km into a strong headwind.
As a result, we got awfully tired. So tired, in fact that we overslept (i.e. past 6am!) one morning whilst camping in the jungle and had a curious wake up call from a puzzled Laotian man (cheerfully smoking cannabis), who herded his buffalo around our tent.
The mountains of Laos behind us, we dragged ourselves to the border with Vietnam. Crossing the border we experienced a curious culture shift. The excited, yet shy, Laotian "Hellos" had changed to slightly manic, and very loud "HEELLOO" from the Vietnamese.
We cycled via the town of Dong Ha to Hue. On the way we had some excellent battlefield touring, employing the services of a certain Mr Binh (a South Vietnamese veteran) who gave us a good understanding of the important sites which we have been (and will be) cycling through.
Now we are enjoying our long awaited rest day in Hué and Mel has decided it is time to cut Andy's hair (with nail scissors.) Andy is wondering whether we have the budget for normal scissors. We are eating a lot, and Vietnamese food turns out to be rather good here.
In our last blog a couple of our friends and family commented that our statistics were somewhat incomplete... We will start to include additional stats from now on... see below for the first few additions. Key Stats:
Distance covered in this stage: 518.16km
Distance covered so far (since 20 Dec): 1879.90km
Sometimes there just isn't a guesthouse!
Total Hours in saddle (since 20 Dec): 110 hours and 47 minutes (i.e. 4 days, 14 hours and 47 minutes)
Mechanicals: Sheared Pannier Rack x1 (Mel), Snapped Bike Chain x2 (Andy), Puncture x2 (Andy), Hand Blisters from Sunburn x6 (Mel), Puncture x1 (Mel), Snapped Water Bottle Cages x2 (Andy)
Different sleeping locations (guesthouses / camping) in last month: 26 different locations out of 31 nights
Route finding: proportion of cycling which is in the correct direction (i.e. towards Australia) - 45%!((MISSING)yup - we are actually further away from Australia now, than when we started)
Nutrition: Andy's food ordering accounts for 70%!o(MISSING)f our budget, Mel's for 30%! (MISSING)Strangely, Andy accounts for 100%!o(MISSING)f his own order, and 50%!o(MISSING)f Mel's.
A random extra little thing.....
We took some video in Bhutan which never made it onto the blog... see here for an experience of travel in Bhutan:
Tot: 0.067s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0078s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb