Despite our best intentions to leave early before the heat of the day, we still only managed to get out of Pakse by 7:30am, together with all the morning scooters and trucks. Felt really good to be back on our bikes although a little apprehensive as fully loaded and a long uphill ride ahead.
The best days are the unplanned ones. It was so hot and Linda was beginning to question why take this detour to some waterfalls, when after crunching some 50 km and Paul having a near miss with a truck, we decided to make a stop for lunch and a break out of the sun. A couple on a motorbike had just pulled in ahead of us to a “restaurant” and we followed. Turned out to be a party day in the town and everyone cooked and shared their food so all the restaurants were actually closed. The most charming middle age Laos gentlemen invited us in to share spicy noodle soup with the young Belgian couple also on their way to the waterfalls. Learned his life story and the adventures of the Belgians and despite our protestations would not take a kip, or even a dollar. Result!
Onward to the Bolevan plateau fealing much better and not so far to go. Completely astonished with the first sight of the beautiful Tad Lo Falls. Checked into the first guesthouse with a view over the river. Feeling quite smug after our free lunch and only £6 for the night. You don’t get a lot for £6. Our sac de viandes are getting well used. No hot water, no breakfast, but great view and the odd mozzie, and maybe a few bed bugs. Beer is cheap. Result.
Today we went in search of the other waterfall ‘up river’. We didn’t have much idea where we were going, even a discussion was had over Left / Right out of the guesthouse. Eventually arrived. Little water, but golly gosh, what a drop. And what a view over the plain. Linda conceded that it was worth the effort. Might have been easier on a moped. But that’s not cycling. Or cricket. Neither of us play cricket. Eh??
Now we are on our own we are not at all protected from the ‘big world’, and so far it is a most interesting place. Klaus, manager of where we are staying tonight, Tad Lo lodge, is a lifelong traveller, from USA but so far from mainstream America that he freely admits that he no longer recognises fellow countrymen. Interesting guy, who seems to have his world rather better sorted than most. Then Jan, a Dutch lone cyclist who was very helpful. He is on his journey of personal exploration and growth. Jolly fit, and hopefully more in tune with himself. All interesting, all on the same bit of our planet.
Tad Lo Lodge has 2 ‘pet’ elephants. A long story but they are much loved by the team looking after them and seem happy. 200kg a day of food each the running costs are huge. As are the poos.