Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
82Trip End Dec 30, 2009
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Breakfast is an omelette, tinned tuna, babybel cheese, fresh pear abd a baguette. Then a 65km ride through more villages including a 500m winding climb that we all managed well. The group is definitely getting fitter although I think that I am the least strong of the 3 blokes. I am probably the quickest descender, if that counts for anything.
At one village, they are having a meal to celebrate the rice harvest. Ant, our Thai guide, goes and sits in. That boy loves his rice.
We reach Oudenxay by lunchtime. Italian gardens, designer shopping, interesting historical monuments, elegant riverside walkways, fabulous views, cafe society. Unfortunately Oudenxay has none of these. It was apparently the town that the Chinese army used as a supply base for the Pathet Lao inthe mid 70s civil war but it is now a bit of a hole. Our guest house typifies this. We reject our first room as it is damp. The alternative is dark: the window opens onto another building 2ft away. There is a permanent pool of water in the eccentrically tiled bathroom as the floor is uneven.
I have a sleep for about an hour and when I awake, J has found wifi access, so I update the blog. We find a brand new ATM machine down the street so I extract some kip (Lao currency). The market is beside the river and one of the buildings is subsiding into it but is still in use. We buy a couple of cakes at a bakery and pay with one of our new 50000 kip notes. (£1=15000kip approx). The man appears not to have seen such a high value note before but his wife takes over and gives us a greasy wad of notes in change.
Meal in cafe opposite: more Beer Lao & banana and pineapple smoothies.
Our room has a ceiling fan and an air conditioning unit but there is no controller and it doesn't seem to be working. We fall asleep but are woken at 0500 by a loud beeping sound. I stumble out of bed stubbing my toe looking for an aberrant alarm clock. The light now doesn't work. It turns out that the power supply has drastically reduced ( a brownout) and that has triggered an alarm in our AC unit. It beeps on and off for the next hour until we get up in the semi dark lit by the light of the laptop screen, have a cold shower etc.
Back on the road.