Thursday, February 21, 2013


 I'm packed and ready for rafting. As the bus leaves in the evening I head toutopia the bar to hang out for the day. 
Yes I have been carrying a raft and paddle on my bike. 
So after taking a slow boat to  Luang Prabang  Now I leave the bikeand head north.  First part is a 13 hour bus ride to Prong Sali.  Nota sleeper bus but a local bus.  From there it gets interesting as I do notknow what is available to go north the next 80 k.  When I get to Tam BangI will head down the Nam Ou River.
  I email friends about my plans andnote that there are no lions in the conservation area I heading for.  Myfriend Bill emails me back and reminds me of snakes.  Snakes are notutopian thoughts.  Some snakes like to hang in tree and wait for somethingto pass below.  Another bit of wildlife to look for as paddle down river.
I see the utopian menu includes "Tomato chili sauce with boiled vegetarian" 
“There is no such thing as a vegetarian snake” I hear from the person next tome reading wired bits of trivia.  It is three so time to leave thisutopia.
Off to catch a bus north.
 Bus to leave at 5:30, at 7 it arrives and quickly loads.  Some stuff goesthrough the window as the isle is filled with styrofoam containers.  Weleave quickly but stop along the road to pick up passagers and food for thedriver.

 Thump, thump, thump of a flat.  With a machete the driver  cut off the offending rubber as the tire iscoming apart.  Other duel tire has a crack down the center and has notread.  A bit further up the road the bus stops to change the tire at asmall shop.
Flip coin and decide to stay with bus for now, as hitching is notworking.  I get back on the top heavy bus with young driver.
There are problems with lug nuts.  I forgot the kid driver is goingto trying to make up time on these mountain roads in my calculation. 

 At the 10 o'clock dinner break I see they broke a stud but they have 5 of the 8lug nuts on.  Other side got 6 lug nuts.  Left front tire hasseven.  The question with this bus is when not if.  I should havegone for a blessing this morning from a monk.  I long to sleep but not thelong sleep.
Horn is used on the blind turns which are frequent. 
As dawn passes we are still on the road.  Now I can see the hills that weare driving through.  Steep hills with jungle are what I see through theclouds.  Ladders are used to get from the road to fields in some areas.
 At a stop I watch a shop keeper net a snake out of a holding box.  Itis dropped into a plastic bag of the customer.  Dinner looks like it willbe fresh as it wiggles on the scale.

At another stop I see I have had a box of ringers lactate under my seat.

 After seventeen hour and I arrive Phong Sali bus depot.  I choose to walkinto town as I need to walk and move.  I want to check out the town. I miss my bike.  Renting a bike would be like cheating.  I pick uprice and some red curry paste.  I decide that the machete is too heavy andif I needed it would mean I lost the boat which would have the machete on it.
The town has a Public address system with metal speakers on telephonepoles.  At 5 pm announcements start with some music at times.  Echoescome from speakers on others hills around town.  At 7ish the speakers stoptalking.

298 Miles, 12:50 Moving Time, Max Speed 47.6 Miles,  Moving Average 18.5 Miles,  StopTime 6:48 Overall Average Speed 12.1 Miles,  Temp Min 71F-84F, Start 8:00 next day end20:00, Accent 18295 feet, Max Altitude 2732 feet.
Sunny after morning fog cleared

Love & Kisses


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