Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Floating into Vang Vieng

is what we did today. After riding about 50k, we hopped into river kayaks and meandered down the gentle river for a couple of hours, arriving just before 5 pm. It was fun, even when the Japanese tourists in another boat overturned our kayak, putting Dan and me into the river. Ooopsie. Today is the first day in four days that I feel normal, at about 80 percent for riding strength. What a relief! What fun to enjoy eating again! I celebrated with a chocolatey pancake thingie covered in condensed milk.

To backtrack, we rode out of Luang Prabang on the 29th and had a hard day's ride with two large mountain passes with many ripply hills in between. About 50 miles total, over 6000 feet of climbing, including a 15 and 25 k climb and comparably long descents. I was still feeling rather poorly, but did the ride, going unbelievably slowly. It was so gorgeous, photos to come. One of the most lovely days of riding I've done in a long time. We spent the night at Kiu Kachan, a truck stop town on top of the mountain. The views were amazing, but the facilitieswere a bit limited. My tummy troubles reactivated during the night and I did not enjoy leaving the room with a flashlight to use shared rural toilets!!! Multiple times! Ughhhh!

The next day was another hard day and I was not in a happy place. I did most of the ride, but skipped one of the climbs, electing to ride in our truck and nap instead. I did make the most of the super long descents, which had frequent patches of unpaved road which were fun to hammer through on the mountain bike.

OK, must get ready for our New Year's eve dinner. Ben our guide has procured lao lao (rice liquor homebrew) mixed with goat's blood for the festivities. Not sure I'll try this one, but I am hoping Sue will! Dan is still feeling the effects of his cold and may stay in for the night. I'll be having an early night as well!

Happy New Years! And I will post again, probably in a couple of days from Vientiane.

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