In the aftermath of our little adventure through the Laos’ hinterland I developed a bad cold.
My immune system obviously was considerably weakened by the endured strains and the smoke and dirt probably didn’t do any good either. Thus, one day after, I got a sore throat. I finally felt too weak to go any further and preferred lying in bed for 2,5 days. Since I simply didn’t want Jela to wait out this time in a dirty and not very charming town in the middle of nowhere we at least took the bus for about 90 km to Oudomxai, called the Heart of North-Laos. A town at least a bit bigger, touristy and with a better infrastructure, i.e. food etc. Supported by some antibiotics and Jela’s care I felt much better eventually and we dared to continue, another bad road – though by no means as bad and strenuous as our first dirt road experience in Laos – and a little pass lying before us. Regardless of the fact that I haven’t recovered completely, yet, that day was quite hard still, even for a healthy body. The heavy rain and therefore very muddy dirt road on our descent didn’t help much. Only a water hose at the road side we came across enabled us to get rid of the thick mud layer on the bikes and panniers. Nevertheless, I continued to feel gradually better every day and another leisure day in Nong Khiaw – a little detour – also stabbled my health.
Nong Khiaw is a little touristic town at the Ou river, embedded in a picturesque mountain scenery. Thanks to the sudden set-in rain, a surprisingly strong period within the last days, we got lucky with clean air and clear views. We also enjoyed one of those boat trips up the river to another, quite remote but still touristic village and were amazed what rapids these seemingly shaky and unique wooden boats are able to pass through, filled with about 20 passengers.
Now, about ten days after we entered Laos, we finally reached Luang Prabang, way later than we originally expected to get here. But awful roads, hills and my state of health prevented it.
Here in Luang Prabang we now have some obligations to meet, like getting our visa for Vietnam, laundry, and some minor necessities on our list. Apart from that we also just enjoy the charming town and its tourist infrastructure, mainly the variety and tastiness of the food – quite a contrast to rural Laos.