Sunday, March 30, 2008

On to Tha Heua

Seventy five more pleasant kilometers were punctuated with an equally pleasant town on a reservoir. Tha Heua's main drag is lined with countless vendors selling dried fish and delicious fermented fish paste to be eaten with sticky rice. After a longish ride, a snack was in order. The small market yielded some pretty snacks. I procured a nice variety of snacks not unlike ones seen in Thailand.

There was black rice, tapioca flower puddings, and creations with coconut.

We made for a hilltop temple and were met by a group of friendly novices, some of whom were enjoying an afternoon smoke. As we didn't have enough snacks to go around, we finished our pleasant conversation, and went searching for coffee to have with our still uneaten bounty.

Cans were spotted, and coffee was purchased. It was warm and sunny, so we had our coffee iced.

Dinner was an enjoyable fish soup, and laap paa, or Lao fish salad. It was all tied together with copious amounts of sticky rice and the aforementioned fermented spicy fish paste. It was salty, spicy, and actually the real highlight. My camera was resting, sorry.

The next morning started with coffee, and then on to a noodle stand just barely off the pavement. We pulled up a wooden bench and went about figuring out just what it was that was in front of us. The women running the stand seemed seemed briefly baffled, then amused to hear us speaking Thai to them, which luckily they understood. Many Lao people we spoke with either spoke Thai back to us, or just spoke Lao, which often was more or less decipherable. The owner of the stand told us that the noodle dish in front of us was kanom jeen, which is a spicy curry noodle dish in Thailand. It was similar here, but strong on the fish. The woman told us that eating this would make us strong.

It wasn't my ideal breakfast, but it really had a nice, rich, and spicy flavor. The sanitary conditions were quite appalling really, but that didn't effect the taste.

These noodles made us strong enough to comfortably cycle the 25 kilometers to Vangvienne.


Robyn said...

These posts make me want to get the bicycles out of mothballs and make for Lao (not quite as much scenic riding within spitting distance of KL, unfortunately).

How did you get your bikes to Lao, BTW - by road or air?

As for scary hygiene - well, sometimes you just have to close your eyes and dive in.

a said...

Get those bikes out and go!
We took the overnight train from Bangkok to Nong Khai, and rode north from there until Luang Prabang. Stay tuned, there are more posts on the way!

Robyn said...

The real prob with bike trips is Dave's photo equipment. The guy doesn't exactly travel light! Someday, perhaps .... in the meantime I'll live vicarious through your posts.

a said...

How about a motorcycle?
Now I'm curious about all that equipment. A suitcase full?

Robyn said...

Just about. On most trips. :-)