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Thursday, 28 June 2012

6 JUNE 2012 DAY 12: ODUMXAY - HOUA MOUNG (365kms)

It was already bright, even though it was only 6.45am when we checked out from our guest house at Odumxay on Day 12. We started with route 13 heading to Pak Mong. Hey, so long with the nicely paved yesterday’s road. Today, I was surprised with the reality of badly damaged Laotian roads. It was worse than you can imagine. The road winded up to the mountains. I have to slow down due to the road condition and the steepness of the ascending or descending. We passed lots of small villages. The houses were made either from bamboo or straw, with thatched roofs. I saw nude toddlers playing among themselves, and some even walked alone by the road side. This makes me wonder, didn’t the parent concern about his / her safety? The kids, some only wearing panties, waved at us. Again, I wonder, didn’t this kids go to school? In the morning chill, the villagers walked to their farm in small groups.

The damaged, small, narrow and steep road that we passed were almost deserted with other vehicles. However, when once in a while, a vehicle came from the opposite side, they were very fast, especially the pick-up truck. They didn't give a damn about slowing down or moving a bit to the side of the road. There were times that my heart skipped not only one beat, but many beats due to the shock of almost colliding. There was one time that when nature called, and there was no petrol pump around (petrol pumps existed only at bigger towns), I had to ask to use the villagers’ toilet. Unfortunately, their toilet is the river behind their house. So, I was forced to go back to nature, which reminded me of my childhood times when going balik kampung.

The road after Pak Mong (route 1C) worsened as we were now riding on a kampong road. However, the view gets more and more beautiful. The mountains, the trees, the valleys, the terrace rice fields, the corn fields, it was difficult to explain its beauty. As we passed the villages, the families who were gathering at the verandahs of their houses were surprised by our presence. The sound of crickets accompanied our ride. We had to be really careful as not to hit the villagers’ animals such as dogs, cows and pigs. Later, Hadi told me that if we hit a pig (for example), we not only have to pay for the pig, but the owner will charge us according to how many baby pigs the pig we hit will borne in a year. Oh my god!!! We also had to be careful as the crevasse here was very deep and scary. Down the crevasse, small river winding its way and looked very beautiful.

Tiru Zahariz punya posing :)

It was getting dark but we still have not reached our targeted town. It was getting really cold and I was very exhausted after the long ride. We were still in the middle of the mountain jungle. It was dark except for the lights from our bikes. We had to ride slowly because there were many times that we encountered a group of cows transiting in the middle of the road. I was praying inside my heart for god’s help. Finally, we arrived Houa Moung, a small town and a girl at a coffee shop told us that there is a guest house about 3kms away. Upon going to the guest house, I almost fell from my bike because I didn't realize the bridge that I rode on had speed bumps on it. It was so dark that I couldn't see a thing. I was screaming so loud that I think my mom back home can hear me. Thank god that even though I have lost 75% control of the bike, (I don't know how) but I manage to keep it straight. Or else DREAM and I would have fallen into the river.

We checked in at a guest house in Houa Moung after 11 hours of riding, but only managed to cover a distance of 365kms. Three things I learnt today from Hadi. First, never ride on the opposite lane. Second, stop riding before it gets dark, and third, estimate your time wisely when riding on a steep winding road.


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