Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day 20: Na Nam - Vientiane

“The finale”

A day that went exactly to plan. Woke at 6.15am, had breakfast and was on the road by 6.45am. Difficult uphill start and though I felt tired, I convinced myself to enjoy the last day of cycling no matter what cropped up. A less scenic ride than I had been used to, but some nice views as I followed the Na Nam River. I as able to draft behind a scooter for 10kms, which caused much amusement for mum, dad and baby who were on board.

I came across a Belgian couple coming the other way on a tandem, en route to Mongolia, and had a brief chat. Before long I hit the outskirts of the city which is often a source of anxiety. But Vientiane is pretty contained, and I was able to follow my nose into the centre of town where I had a ceremonial photo taken under the Arch. Went back to the same guesthouse I’d stayed at previously, showered and was on my way to the cafĂ© for a baguette and several juices.

I took my bike to the cycling shop and paid him $7 to pack the bike for me. A masterful packing job ensured that my bike had more care afforded it than ever before. Wandered around Vientiane most of the afternoon but felt at a bit of a loose end. It feels strange knowing the bike’s packed and the holiday is drawing to a close. Sat down by the Mekong before heading to an upstairs balcony for dinner where I ran into Ryan and Eleanor, an English couple I’d met in Vang Vieng. There was plenty of commotion as it was Lao New Year, which meant getting wet on several occasions, particularly at the shop where I bought Sarah’s present. Before they tipped a bucket on me they had the decency to mind my wallet and camera (pictured below)…

The plan for tomorrow is an early morning walk around town, breakfast at the bakery and tuk-tuk to the airport. Turns out my flight goes through Cambodia, which is a pain, but I should have five or six hours to in Saigon to take in one last breath of Vietnam. Looking at the state of my feet, my mission is to find a pedicure in Saigon, and a shave, and a haircut, and a massage…


dean said...

cheers mate a bit jealous of the
tour fantastic read
hopefully will find time to emulate
this one day cheers deano

dtazik said...

From morose to surreal to melancholy....what an interesting adventure it turned out to be...

yes -- a very nice read indeed!

Weiry said...

A great mate of mine Andrew Robson (you sat next to him on a plane) passed your blog on to me.
Great read which means great writing.
Good luck on your next adventure. I look forward to reading about it.

Grant Weir

genkitravels said...

Thanks for the snapshots and wonderful journey you've shared. I'm going over in a couple of weeks and have been using your blog as a crib sheet to help plan my trip. You've opened my eyes a little wider, thanks.