Resorting to Caffeine

Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 24, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Champasak,
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We leave Tat Lo at 10am and head towards Sekong, just beyond which is a path that takes you up to the Bolaven Plateau to Paksong. The first half of the 147km journey is sealed road. Again most of this journey is spent driving with one hand whilst frantically waving at the hundreds of children walking along the road. We think later that some wave because they are nice and some might wave to see if you will fall off your bike. 

At Sekong we stop for a drink. The lady who runs the restaurant has one long black hair coming out of a mole on her chin that reaches almost her chest. Impressive. And something we have seen several times in SE Asia. 

We make the mistake of not filling up with petrol before we turn off the main road, so are then paranoid for the rest of the journey that our bikes will stop going. (They don't.) 
The road, which we imagined would be through forest, is now mostly building site as they prepare to seal it. Nevertheless it is still beautiful as it rises up and up overlooking forest and more impressive waterfalls. Some of the road is a little muddy and Claire panics. At one point she does a comedy slow fall into the mud, but doesn't injure herself or the mud this time. 

The temperature starts to cool as the road becomes a dry dirt road and we pass through small isolated villages (all, it seems with their own small coffee plantations). We stop outside a house to take pictures of the coffee plants on the other side of the road, and it seems that the mother and three young children outside the front of their house hide from us behind a tree. Strange. 
After a while the road becomes wider and really dusty and we get slowly covered in red dust. We think this is bad for an hour or so, until all our petrol gauges read empty and the entire road becomes thickly packed gravel (for at least an hour of driving) and we have to go slow to stop from slipping. 

We finally reach Paksong, relieved and tired. We see quickly that there isn't a lot here to do and few guesthouses to choose from. Judith points at a swanky hotel on a hill overlooking the main road and we drive up to it. It is extortionate so we decide against it. As we leave a tiny fluffy dog chases Jo's bike. Jo thinks at first that it is wanting to say hello until it bares its teeth and lets out high pitched angry barks until we leave. Maybe it was from Savannakhet?

We find a nice guesthouse anyway, have dinner (to the sounds of Westlife and Luther Vandross) and then head back to bed. We go to sleep to the sounds of booming kareoke coming from the Lao club next door.       
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