Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Day of Riding

A large motivation for the recent trip to Laos was to go on another bicycle trip, in the same vein as the trip taken up to the North of Thailand last October, and the trip down south last April. I'd like to show you a few photos from our first day on the road north, from Vientiane to the small town of Thalat on the old highway. It was a pleasant 95 kilometers.

Our day started nicely with a great coffee about 10 kilometers up the road. This is how most of my days begin whether at home or on the road. After getting into the country side we started seeing fewer cars, more bicycles, and melons of course. We must have passed a couple dozen stands selling watermelons fresh from the fields. We had to stop.

A nice lady helped us pick out a nice ripe watermelon, cut it up, and gave us a space to sit under her cover. She engaged us in conversation and giggled at me as I tore into piece after piece of juicy watermelon.

Here's a big kid enjoying her watermelon. A very satisfied customer.

We rode on a little longer until it was lunch time. We eventually found a food shop and parked our bikes out front. I asked what there was, and the answer was Pho. This would become the stock answer. I had many bowls of pho in Vietnam and was not always convinced of its brilliance, so was a bit wary of this lunch.

This bowl was like a cross between Vietnamese Pho and Thai kutiaow. There was a hefty plate of lettuce, mint, and other unidentified greens. Actually, i loved this bowl of noodles. The broth took on the flavors of the greens very nicely, and the relative lightness of this bowl left me satisfied and energized for a further 50 kilometers.

Another few kilometers down the road we spied a naam oy, or sugar cane juice stand.

It was the perfect stop.

We sat on the wooden deck and watched the bicycles ride by.

That evening we rode into Thalat tired and dirty, but well fed and well hydrated.

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