Tour Blog



Day 2 Huay Xai to Pak Beng


We started Day 2 of the tour with nice hearty fresh Laos bread and omelettes.  The gear was loaded onto a Tuk Tuk, and we rode the 2km to the river edge.  After tying our $30,000 worth of unicycles to the top of the long skinny Mekong boat, we piled in and headed downriver.

Next stop was to get paperwork done in a little sandy port. 

"Banana, Banana, buy my Banana!!!!"

The group left on the boat were approached by some of the local women selling their produce.  Despite having several dozen bananas on the boat already, many thousands of Kip were spent purchasing more bananas.

We proceeded down the Mekong after this brief stop.  The stunning scenery along the Mekong river left many people with full memory cards in their cameras.  Rob Bowman had already used up half this 30 rolls of film.  We saw many buffalos on the shores of the Mekong, women panning for gold, peanut farms on the sandy bank, noisy $#@! speedboats, stilt houses, dense jungle, fishing nets, banana trees in the jungle, mysterious red fruit on the shores, and much more.  We even went through some rapids on the Mekong.  Luckily the boat handled beautifully.

During the journey down the Mekong, our guide Jason explained the social and cultural aspects of our tour, including the head of a person being sacred (one must never pat any Laos children on the head) and the feet being considered the dirtiest part of the body, and that it was therefore rude to point your feet at someone or step over them.  There were all sorts of maneuvers as people got their feet into interesting positions to avoid pointing them at each other on the boat!  Grace was concerened that she was exposing too much shoulder to the Laos people in her sleeveless top.  

We landed on the shores of Pak Beng, which is a tiny little village with a few hundred people.  We were swamped by hundreds of locals as we unloaded the unicycles from the boat.  There were squeals of delight and shouts of encouragement from the locals as some of the riders hopped on the unicycles to ride to their guesthouse.

Beau was offered some drugs by the locals but politely declined.

After unpacking, we set off up the main road (the only road) heading out of the town.  Kids would squeal and run after this unlikely group of tourists riding past on one wheel.

"Sabaidee...Sabaidee!!!"  It was mayhem.

Tony and Ken rode about 6km up the road and stopped by a small village.  They were immediately swamped by about 100 local villagers and unable to proceed despite the fact that it was getting dark.  They were made to demonstrate the unicycles and then dragged into the village for some "Coca Cola".  After being brought into the main hut with the village elders, they found out that the Coca Cola was in fact a very strong alcoholic brew in ceramic jars.  They had to sip from this jar whilst the locals watched with fascination.  Tony and Ken politely excused themselves with some difficulty before riding back to the guesthouse in the fading light.

Seth was chased by children as he rode up the road.  Some of them were carrying chickens and running after him.  He was amazed at the number of smiles there were in Laos. 

The houses became more basic as we headed out of town.  Most were wooden stilt houses with no running water or electricity.  Chickens and little dogs and little kids played happily despite these humble conditions.  Our guesthouse was a luxury mansion in comparison, despite the erratic power supply and the cold showers we endured.


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