I love this place already
|Travel From||–||Mengla, China|
|Ending Location||–||Oudomxay, Laos|
|Miles Driven Today||–||88 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||13185 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–||Laos|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos|
Today’s ride included an important border crossing, but only about 90 miles of travel. I am looking forward to spending a few more days in Laos, and enjoying a more open society.
We were set to depart at 8:00, and we were all ready to go. Several of the bikes had left the parking lot, but as I attempted to start my bike, it would not start, and it showed the the battery in the key was low. So, I called for help, the team stopped in their tracks, and we changed the battery.
The new battery did not resolve the problem, so I had to resort to an old trick of holding the plastic/Secure key under the rear fender, while someone presses the bike’s power button. That worked, and off we go.
We took the highway to the border, so as to not lose any time.
After only 30 minutes of riding, we arrived at a small marketplace, just before the border. We were able to purchase drinks and snacks, which proved very important to me, as I need to drink a lot of fluids. But, while at this brief break, I needed to get my bike fixed, so I worked quickly to find my spare key, test it, and place the other key into the van for safe keeping.
In the meantime, Karin had purchased some drinks and crackers for me, and I was not well prepared to sit at any border for an unlimited amount of time.
As it turns out, the border crossing out of China was very slow, perhaps 60 minutes or more, but at least we got it done. We then passed through the immigration checkpoint, while the export paperwork for our bikes was also processed.
Now, we would need to proceed to the Laos border, and immigrate into that country. Immigration is located about 1/4 mile from China, so our trip was short, and quick. Processing of Immigration was also quite fast, and within 25 minutes, I was out the door of the immigration
The Laos customs office is located about 10 miles from the Immigration station. So, we were told to meet our Laos guide at the customs office, after we had completed the Immigration paperwork.
As it turns out, the road between these two places is being built, so there were big trucks everywhere, and the road was dirt for the entire distance.
We arrived at the customs office to a pleasant surprise. It seems that our Guide, Pong had filled out the customs paperwork, and we were told that all was in order, and we could proceed. So, we traveled another 10 miles to our lunch stop.
The lunch stop was to be our very first Laos meal. So, I was pretty excited. But it seems that the Chinese are taking over Laos, and as such, this restaurant was Chinese.
It was going to take a while to make our food, so i took a look around.
Across the street from the restaurant was a hair cutter, so I decided to get my hair cut, so that I looked presentable when I arrived in Bangkok. I had to wait about 25-30 minutes for the barber to finish with two other customers, then it was my time in the chair.
He did not speak English, so I typed in that I wanted it cut medium to short, with the same length all around. He did a great job, but neglected to cut the top areas. So, I motioned that I wanted them cut, and he didn’t understand. Eventually, he showed me a photo of someone with short hair, and I said, yes, that’s it.
So, he got another clipper and started on my head. After moving the clipper 4″, it was obvious that he was planning on shaving my head, which was not what I had asked for, and not what I wanted. So, with a stripe up one side of my head, I decided that let him cut the whole cue-ball short. Which is what he did.
In the end, he said that he was sorry, and charged me 20,000 Kip, the local currency. This amounts to about $2.20 USD. A fair amount it seems.
After the haircut, I wandered into the restaurant, and found that the food was just arriving. it all looked great, but to make matters worse, I was still on a dietary restriction that limited which items I could eat. The ever-so-delicious-looking fish was too spicy, as was the pork, and even the vegetables were declared to be too spicy. So, I had some rice with veggies in it, and enjoyed every bite.
Final 60 Miles
The final 60 miles were great. Along the way, we found many, many children waving to us. It reminded me of Kyrgyzstan where the children loved to see the bikes, with their flashing lights, and loud engines.
Each time I came upon a new group of children, I could not help but smile, wave, and beep the horn for them. They were adorable, and it warmed my heart to see the joy in their faces.
Phil stopped to take some pictures and he noted that while they waved so naturally, they were a bit more reserved when it came to taking their pictures. Nevertheless, he took some great shots, and I’ll get a few of them from him.
The road was mostly perfect for riding, but it was rather narrow, with some blind turns, and too many big trucks. That said, there seemed to be one curve after the next, with good traction, and only the first 20 miles were riddled with dirt sections.
With about 19 miles to go, we rounded a turn, and came upon a fruit stand, actually it was more like a fruit market. With many people selling fresh melons, bananas, and many other exotic fruits. I’ve taken some pictures showing the various fruits.
Unlike our arrivals at all of the Chinese hotels, we were met with a team of folks to take care of us, offering us lemongrass juice, and cold beer upon arrival.
They helped us get into our rooms, and get settled. It was a great start to a 4 day adventure in Laos.