On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sam Neua-Some Village In The Middle Of Nowhere

Total Distance:64.26km
Total Time:6h31m53s
Average Speed:9.8km/h
Maximum Speed:42.5km/h
Total Distance So Far:6644.28km

YES, I AM STILL ALIVE!!! It's been a while since my last entry. A lot has happened. Laos is a little lacking in the technology department. I haven't had access to a computer in a while, but I've been taking notes. Where to begin? Lets begin at the very beginning, shall we.
When I last left you, I was in Sam Neua. Not a lot to do there, but it's quiet and relaxing. Well worth checking out if you happen to be in the area. It was there I met a fellow cyclist who told me that finding accomodation in the region would not be a problem. Looking back, I suspect he was one of those cyclists who claim to be biking when really they are taking a bus from city to city. (this does actually happen, I've met them) I spent a night in Sam Neua and in the morning I was off.
The first thing I encounter was a massive hill. It's a tough way to start the day. The ride was beautiful, but difficult. Fred still wasn't doing very well. His chain was stretched and slipping out of gear. I was still having to walk up steep slopes. Other problems were arising aswell. The back gears were hitting the spokes, and the front gears weren't shifting very well. It was difficult, but not impossible.
The fellow cyclist I met said the next accomodation was about 50km away. 50km passed, and nothing. Just small villages. No guesthoses or hotels. Another 10km passed. Still nothing. At this point I was beginning to worry a little. The sky was clouding over. It looked although it might rain, and it was starting to get dark. As the sun began to set it was becoming clear that I would not be finding a place to stay. At this point I was really starting to pannic. It was cold, dark, and there are all sorts of things waiting in those mountains to eat scared, lost Canadian cyclists. With no other options left I decided to try my hand at asking the locals if I could stay with one of them. And this is why I love Laos...
Communication was difficult being that I don't speak Laos and they didn't speak English. However, through the use of hand gestures, I was able to communicate that I needed a place to sleep for the night. The first people I asked didn't even hesitate. They brought me in to there little shack, gave me a palce to stay, and fed me. I have never experienced such kindness. It was great. Of course, I gave them a little money for their trouble.
The experience was one of the best I've had on my trip. It was great to see how the locals of these remote villages actually live. The house was small. A single room with a few beds and a fire pit in the middle. No electricty or luxuries of the western world. Dwelling within these four simple walls were eight people. Grandparents, parents, and four children (all of which were boys). Conversation with them was pretty limitted. I wish I could have understoode more. They were so happy. It seemed although they were making plenty of jokes. I didn't know people like that actually existed.

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