Monday, October 17, 2011

4 bicycles in one horse Luang Namtha

The lodge had run out of mountain bikes so we headed off on what they described as smaller bikes.  Smaller, but we managed to ride the 6km into town, around town, up a hill and back again.
Luang Namtha is small and very quiet in this off season time.  We checked out the market – which is a nice one and I got a new hat as my own was back in VTE.  It was stylish and when you velcroed the fabric around your face no dust from the road  (commonly worn by locals in the field or riding motor bikes)
We did the journey the hill to the new gold coloured Stupa, built in 2003.  The reason there a new Stupa was built is that the Americans bombed the old one in 1966

Having seen the Stupa we headed back into town for lunch at the “Minority Restaurant” Run by members of local minority tribes it serves good Lao food…eventually.

We were the first people to arrive and it prompted a call from the lady wearing a military uniform.  Maybe 10 minutes later a motorbike arrived driven by what turned out to be our lunch chef.  Our orders were taken and we sat happily sipping some Beer Lao.  Twenty minutes passed and then our chef zoomed away on her motorbike. To return 10 minutes later with some noodles in her bike basket.  Our meals came a good 45 minutes after we had arrived and sat down.

Back on the bikes we took the back road back to the lodge.  Lots of rice about to be harvested or just starting to be harvested.
Rice waiting to be harvested
Some harvesting had started

The Chinese have invested a lot of money in Rubber plantation and everywhere you looked there were large tracts of rubber trees – it takes 8 years before the rubber tree starts producing.

Then we had a little inconvenience.  Andrew got a puncture. 

However we dealt with this by sitting him on the padded seat while he guided his bike and I doubled him to a roadside stall that mended punctures a few kilometres away.  At one point we went past a gang of roadside labourers.  They watched as two falang (foreigners) rode up with a tall older man sitting on the padded carrier nursing his bike.  They broke into spontaneous clapping and cheers of encouragement – it was quite funny. 
Returning home from school keeping the sun off

Back to lodge early dinner (working our way through the entire menu), early to sleep and early to rise for another day - white water kayaking...

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