Thursday, 29 December 2011

Vang Vieng back to Vientiane

Vang Vieng wasn't as interesting the second time around. There were more people there this time, mostly of the stumbling and drunk variety after they had spent a day tubing. I had my two nights there and headed off towards Na Nam, which was a small village on the side of a lake that sounded interesting. This means I could get of the stupid rough highway 13 and over to the less used highway 10.

All they way from Vang Vieng to the turnoff to highway 10 was horrible. At least there was less traffic this time and I could ride fast enough to float over most of the bumps. Except at one point I hit a rather large square edged pothole that may have damaged my front rim more than it already is. Bike still works though...

Stopped at the new bridge again.

Panorama time!
I sat on the side of the river for a while zoned out from the riding. I watched some locals drive into the river a little way to wash their cars, and another person came over to look at my GPS.

After that stop I headed off again, over more bumpy roads. I think after all this travel only some things have been damaged slightly. The fan in my laptop now grinds a bit, and my main lens has loosened up. I haven't noticed anything else broken yet, although there are some rattles that I'm not sure of the source...

There were police at the checkpoints along the way this time, none of them stopped me though, or if they attempted I ignored it I guess. I don't think there were as many police out when I was heading north, something must be up!

Finally I ended up at the dam near Na Nam.

I was sitting here for a bit trying to figure out where to go, and then some local girls road their moped thing right next to me, stared at me, giggled, and road off. Strange.

I finally found Na Nam which was over the other side of the dam wall  next to the lake.

Here's the lake.
I found a resort style place just next to where this photo was taken. I waited while a group of cyclists checked in. They had a card with the room details and prices on them on the desk, so I pointed at the cheapest one ($20!) and asked if any were available, they said no, and then immediately started talking to someone else... So I waited for them to finish and finally got to ask if any of the other types of rooms were available, and then I got told no again. After this strange interrupted conversation, and the strange local girls giggling at me, and the fact that Vientiane was only 80km away, I decided to get on the road again. Even though I would have liked to get a photo of that lake at sunrise, I was hot and annoyed and thought that it was best to get out of this strange village.

I headed back out of Na Nam and headed south on what I though was highway 10, but it turns out I was on the other side of the river. Eventually the road ended at a couple of ferries. I waited for a bit to try figure out what was going on with the ferries, one took cars and a couple of motorbikes, and the other was a small ferry that took motorbikes and people. I decided to head over to the car ferry because you could ride on the back and off the front and there wasn't a lot of room to turn my bike around on the smaller ferry. But as I approached the car ferry they waved me away and pointed to the smaller ferry. Right. So I got on the small ferry, struggled to turn my bike around, and almost lost it over the edge when I forgot where the brake was. But then I was on, and we went slowly across the river, all for about 50cents.

I'm standing right at the back of the ferry... Not a huge amount of room here.
Then it was off on some nice Laos country roads. Finally a flat, straight road, no potholes, just some traffic to deal with. It felt very very odd being able to do 100km/h in Laos. 

There was a toll bridge closer to Vientiane, that had a list of prices on it, I assumed I'd have to pay, but I followed another bike that just went around the barrier so I decided to do the same. I think the guy in the booth was going to open his window and talk to me, but no one stopped me so I kept going.

Now finally I'm back in Vientiane in a room with a toilet that seems to bubble occasionally.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you're making a great progress, don't you? These photo reminds me of our great journey back in 2008.

    All the best, enjoy Asia!