Month in Pictures: April 2014

Alee May 4, 2014 1

These are the latest pictures and short stories from our month travelling Laos!

Despite cycling between 12-22hrs every day, Alee still had time to make friends with young soldiers with big guns. It's best to stick to their good side!

Over the last two years we've really put our gear to the test. We're currently finalising our list of everything that hasn't made the distance, including this Nalgene bottle, Steripens, ipad cases, an air mattress, three air pillows, a digital camera, 2x tents, a titanium pot, hair clippers, helmets, map holder, spokes, rims and lots of clothes.

NEW COUNTRY TODAY! We crossed the border into Laos via bus today because Kat can't ride the bike yet. It was a MASSIVE pain in the bum (lots of arguing and paying bribes) and Alee swears to never get on a bus with the tandem again!

We've found gigantic mangoes! Luckily, we can eat mango endlessly.

It's the Laos New Year currently, which involves drinking, singing, dancing and throwing water on everyone you see – tandem cyclists included! We should probably purchase snorkels!

The only way Kat can ride currently (without damaging her back further) is by stretching and relaxing the muscles in her back for 15 minutes every hour. It's not the fastest way to get about, but it's REALLY good to have her back on the bike!

Can anyone identify this insect for us?! We found it on the road in Laos. It looked most like a moth, but had no wings, and it jumped like a flea! Update: Turns out it's a planthopper nymph.

Laos just might be our favourite SE Asian country to travel! The traffic is minimal, the roads are good, the scenery is great, the people are friendly and the motorists don't overuse their horns.

This is a Tokay Gecko. We found it in an abandoned shelter here in Laos. Although it doesn't look big, it was actually over 30cm long, which is small compared to the 51cm they can grow to!

Would we give up our tandem bike to travel the world in this? Probably!

It seems that Vietnamese Pho (pronounced 'fur'), which is a noodle soup, is actually more popular in Laos than Vietnam!

We'd heard of Jude and Astrid for over a year before we finally met them in Laos! They are both from Melbourne and share a bunch of mutual friends with us – it's a small, small world, right?! They are travelling the opposite direction to us, on their way to Scotland on some lovely Australian-made touring bikes. We will certainly be following their colourful blog, check it out: www.foonsonbikes.wordpress.com

We've noticed that about 20-40% of water buffalos are albino in Laos!

Laos is the most bombed nation on Earth! 288 MILLION TONNES of bombs was dropped here during the Vietnam War, and of these munitions, ~30% hasn't even detonated. This is a huge problem for the local people, who accidentally hit them when carrying out daily tasks. At the current rate of clearing, it will be 100 more years until the land is safe again.

There are more butterflies in Laos than any other country we've travelled! This can be attributed to the ideal climate, and fewer areas of development. If you're lucky, you might even find one on your face!

Making friends with some Laos locals!

Sometimes people go past their call of duty! We pulled into a hotel, just as Kat was feeling sick. The family cared for Kat as if she was their own, and cooked up a storm for Alee too! They wouldn't accept payment – we love the Laos people.

Kat's parents Ruth and Andrew dropped in to Luang Prabang to visit us Alleykats and treated us to eight days of luxury, love and unlimited food. We're outstandingly lucky to have parents who'll fly anywhere in the world to see us.

Does water get any more magical than this?!

 

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  • Lorelle

    I’ve been reading a series of fiction books by Colin Cotterill set in Laos in the ’70′s, and have been quite enchanted by them. Your stories only consolidate my idea of the country and it’s people. I love your blogs and photos, and the foods that you show. Cripes – I think I could live on Mangoes and Pho!! So glad your folks came to visit Kat, and that you had a lovely time with them. I do worry about your back, as I’m sure you and Alee do too. All my fingers and toes are crossed for your pain free future!
    Love always
    Lorelle & critters