Who cares that the bathroom has only a cold shower that sprays straight onto the toilet and the sink waste pours directly onto the bathroom floor? Its been a perfect day’s ride – 59km in easy temperatures around 18C. I was away by 8am and here I am at 2.30pm, having booked into my $10 per night room, sitting in the sun using the excellent free WiFi outside the Vanphisit Guest House.
Its been a day of no English only gestures and mime. I managed to stop for coffee, a can of iced coffee at a restaurant where the proprietress was busy skinning a porcupine. It was a small town which obviously gets a lot of passing travellers stopping to purchase items at the market. Not only porcupine but coypu, monkey, buffalo limbs and hoof, were on display for sale, and on the charcoal barbecue, rats were grilling. Perhaps it was too early in the day, but even though one works up quite an appetite after a few hours of cycling, for me it was all a bit much, so by pointing, smiling and opening my wallet for the lady to take the correct money, I bought myself the simple option, grilled corn.
The main hills are still ahead. If you look at the gradient picture above, cycling from right to left, I’m on that flat area to the right of that first small bump (though it didn’t feel small, I can tell you). Tomorrow will be a short ride over the foothills to the hotsprings, leaving the main climb ahead. But thats in the future, for now its a chance to relax with a bottle of the excellent local Beerlao, only $2 a bottle, skype Rachel in Geneva and exchange biking tales, and settle to a relaxing afternoon with my kindle and the second of Colin Cotterill’s hilarious and informative Laotian detective novels.