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Thursday, 28 February 2013

"I LOVE THAILAND & LAOS" RIDE - DAY 5

10TH FEB 2013: ODUMXAY – PAK MONG – PAK OU – LUANG PRABANG (190KMS) 



It was very foggy this morning. Since today’s ride is short, I took some time to laze and only start my ride at 9am. 


Foggy morning in Odumxay, at 9am
Litthavixay GH
I rode via route 13 all the way. The once-upon-a-time paved 80kms road to Pak Mong was so badly damaged. The condition was worse than the time I rode this road during last June 2012. I felt as if DREAM was about to collapse at any time. I had to stand on the foot rest almost all the way. 







It was very dusty and every time a vehicle passed the road, a cloud of dust will fill the air. The dust and the bumpy off road make me felt as if I was in the scene of ‘High Chapparal’, minus the real horses. 





The view along the road was awesome but hazy since it was now dry season. This thus make the view not so camera-friendly. 





I passed many small villages and the kids were thrilled to see me. They waved at me and some even chased my bike. The boys in their teens looked at me when I passed, and I could see the admiration in their eyes. I smiled and said hello to them. As I witnessed before, again, here, I saw naked toddlers running alone by the roadside; kids around the age 5 – 10 helping their parents with living stocks or farming and women BBQ-ing fishes in front of their houses. The smell was so nice that I felt hungry instantly. How I love to view all these. I’m not sure if I can see similar kampong lifestyle view back in my modernized country, Malaysia. 









I finally arrived Pak Mong after 2 hours riding from Odumxay. Upon reaching the intersection, I stopped for a while. I was deep in thought. To my right is Luang Prabang – my destnation. To my left is Xam Neua, Na Meo and the Laos – Vietnam border. 

To my right is Luang Prabang, and to my left is Laos - Vietnam border
During my ride with sifu Hadi last year, we had chosen the right route. I can still remember clearly how bad, how damaged, how slippery, how steep and how narrow the road was, how deep the crevasses were and how scared I was to ride on the worst leg of my ride (then) on this road. The memories of riding in darkness (only to realize a family of cows were resting in the middle of the road when I was less than 5 metres away from them), raining and so very cold, while I was shivering, hungry and critically fatigue that I was almost thrown into the river for not being able to control DREAM, were still fresh in my mind. Somehow, right now, at this very moment, I felt a big urge to repeat this route. I really want to know if the road still scares me now as how it used to do before. Will the fear rule my mind? Last time, we took 3 days to ride from Huay Xai to Laos – Vietnam border, and back until Nam Neun. How about now? Can I shorten the time? Urghhhh....god knows how much I want to turn left instead of right, but since my days were numbered, I have to forgo the idea. I hv to choose right and follow my itinerary. Its okey. I calmed my heart by saying that I will return, one day....thats a promise. 

The 110km road from Pak Mong to Luang Prabang improved slightly, but still bumpy with potholes, and quite slippery at certain areas. I almost skided twice. Nevertheless, the view of Nam Ou river along the way was simply breathtaking. 







The road was still winding, but less climbing. I rode slowly, taking my own sweet time drinking in the view. I finally arrived Luang Prabang after 1:30hrs ride from Pak Mong. 

Beautiful Nam Ou River









I faced a little confusion upon arrival to Luang Prabang as I couldnt find any sign board showing the direction to the town centre. In the end, I used my GPS to find Nazim Restaurant, and from them, I asked for direction to go to Sysomphone GH. I was lucky as this popular GH has only one last room available. My arrival caught the attention of the guests and some of them chatted with me. 




At 4.30pm, I made my way to Kuang Xi waterfall which was 29kms away. The road was quite narrow and few times, the fast speeding tourist vans and cars from the opposite lane almost hit me. The road was just being repaired. Some of it were newly tarred and was slippery. As usual, the patches were not smoothen, so the road was quite uneven. I was in a hurry and was speeding, that for three times, I almost fell down for loosing control of DREAM when riding on the loose non tarred gravels. However, I managed to arrive Kuang Xi safely after 25mins ride from Luang Prabang. 




This is the 2nd time I visited Kuang Xi. The first time was way back in 2007. Nothing much have changed, except for the tourists walkway and the new bear reserved center. The water was still greenish blue and crystal clear. It was very tranquil and beautiful. 






In the night, I spend some time at the night market, buying stuff for my sister Are Nim. I also purchased a kayaking tour for tomorrow for USD30 from Laos Adventure Company.


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NASTIA

Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')
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