Day 175 Luang Prabang to Vangvieng 240km

Tex is training to run the St. Petersburg marathon with Sergei, the back-up driver form the Siberian trip, Leg 8, so he wanted to run 30km this morning, and as good mates do, we all offered to also wake up early and each do a few kilometers, but at 5h00 it started raining heavily and I was sure the run would not take place, but it did, only for Tex who started running at 4h00 before the rain came down, so we got lucky.

Last Night we went to the local Night Market for a beer and some snacks form the market.

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We ate on the banks of the Mekong at one of the little street restaurants. The owners of the restaurants cooked from their little houses on the opposite side of the street and would run across the road bringing the dishes to us. When one needed to use the toilet it turned out to be a humbling experience as one had to use their bathroom and walk through their home, which consist out of one large room with mom and granny cooking in one corner and the young kids watching TV in the other. There is no main bedroom and the toilet (squatting type) is center in the bathroom with handheld shower and a bucket full of water to flush the toilet.

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We were impressed with Luang Prabang as this is the 1st town since Lake Baikal in Russia that we saw other Tourist (meaning non-local tourist.) This town (and the town we are in tonight) has recently been discovered by the backpackers and young student-type as a holiday town and in a few years it will be flooded with tourist, so we are lucky to have seen this part of the world before the the rest arrive.

Today we spent 6 out of the 8 hours it took us to do 240km in the mountains (we took the old road by accident as we thought we were on the only road going South but there was a new one.) We started the morning with our rain-gear and were in the mountains for most of the day, zing-zagging up and down the side of the mountains, passing little villages where the people were peeing at us from under their woven porches hoping we would miss their livestock eating on the road. The road was crowded in each village with ducks, chickens, Pot-belly pigs and even the dogs eating the millions of flying-ants that were falling on the road, I even saw a cat enjoying the Protein Bonanza.

We almost ran out of petrol (I once before got 60km on my reserve but today at 57km into my reserve we found this Ultra City Petrol Station.

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We stopped in the rain and the mist for noodles at about 11h00 (like from a scene in Gorillas In The Mist.)

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The view was breathtaking when the clouds lifted at 14h00.

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I tried to take photos of the kids today but growing-up next to a road has taught them that you stay well clear of the road and play in the mud on the side of the mountain, and their mothers taught them not to trust strangers, specially those wearing funny clothes and calling them over, (without offering sweets.)

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Tomorrow we cross over into Thailand, who knows what excitement awaits us at the border crossing?

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