Xiang Ngeun to Kiu Kacham (53 km)

Well this was to be the toughest day so far and it was. We started out at 7:30 and immediately did a 16 km climb. After a lovely downhill we do a 24 km climb. For us 40 km of mountain climbing is a long day. We pulled into town around 3:30. 

Our strataegy at the end was to ride km up and rest 30 seconds. This allowed us to break the climb into bight size parts. The short rests allow our bodies To readjust without getting complacent. 

One of the characteristics of a cycle tourist is they do whatever they have to do to deal with what is in front of them. Bitching about being sore or whining about the road ahead is not acceptable. We are here for the experience (whatever it is). 

The chart at the bottom of this photo shows the route we took today. We like to know what our day will be like. 

Our ride summary for today

 

We started to see extreme poverty on this leg of the journey. All along this narrow highway were people cutting, beating (to get the seeds off), drying and loading broom grass. It is the night of broom grass season). Most of the brooms in SE Asia come from this broom grass. The really sad thing is to see a three year old standing at the side of the highway beating the grass against the curb, as busses and transports pass by very closely. One can imagine there are countless child fatalities along these roads. We even saw 5 year olds with an infant on their back beating the grass. Where is their youth, where is their innocence. 

Broom grass drying

 

The broom grass business was introduced in some areas to replace the growing of opium. Still Laos is one of the top three opium growers in the world (Afganistan and Burma are the other two). 

    Beating the broom grass

 

Well we were two thirds the way up,our big ascent and it had gotten to 42 degrees Celsius at one point. Our energy was getting low. Janis mentions she would like to take a bit of a longer great soon. We found a clearing, stopped, had a shower from a small spring in the side of the road. Than the strangest thing happened. A motor cycle with a side car drove up to us. The video will explain what he was selling. It was amazing. 

     An amazing rest stop

 

Bye for now

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