Jan 25, 2010
Day 22, Jan 23, nam pouy to pak lai
A good day of off road riding resp. dirt piste of the first order! On the road by 7.50 after a hearty breakfast consisting of pho gai (soup) and cafe lao. Overcasted with cloud banks in the valleys and mountain slopes, a beautiful picture! The first 30 km were pretty tough, roller coaster with 100 to 200 m change of elevation. As it rained/ drizzled the previous days there was no dust and the road really smoothed out by the lumber trucks. Speaking of which, the road comes very close to the nam pouy national park. And everything in between is being clear cut right now. I saw every step of the process from cutting the tree to milling the lumber at the saw mill today. At the saw mill there is no effiency to be seen anywhere regarding getting the most out of a tree. Lots and lots of waste (of wonderful exotic lumber!!).
Anyway, half the way I pulled over and had a bath in a river, desperately again. For it cleared up, the sun broke through and it became hot and dusty, very much so!
I think I was (maybe) the very first bicyclist coming through here. It's a very remote area, off the tourist tracks and besides great mountain biking and the landscape there is no attraction for most travellers.
Here it's not sabai'dii (hello, how are you, good bye) what one hears 100 times in every village but 'farang!!!', for most people or at least kids haven't seen one. Farang, ferengi, etc. is the synonym for westerner (from franken/ franks, the crusaders that is) from the middle east to se asia. I was the saturday entertainment!
In the afternoon it became very, very dusty and hot, too. Everytime a vehicle is passing there is this huge dust cloud... Arriving in pak lai around 4, the Mekong again!!!, I checked into a guesthouse and took a shower with my clothes on and also showered down the panniers. Later on I washed the bike in the shower. Just regular procedure...
Btw, after the shower I turned on the tv and I got a great and weird combination in and from my room: mcqueen's bullit and a view onto the Mekong! Can't get any better, no?!?
Km 102.6, Ave 17.4, Tm 5.50