Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Along the Mighty Mekong

Day 181
Thakok to Paxsan
Time: 3:26:49
Distance: 61.25
Avg Speed: 17.7
Terrain: Flat
Location: 18˚ 23’ 45” N, 103˚ 45’ 00” E

After a few cups of café lao and a bowl of sticky rice with soy milk, we set off on a shorter day. It was nice to have the “go juice” this morning. Yesterday it was a bit tough to get going. I’ll have to figure out how to make due because we have a few more early mornings ahead of us.
We rolled out of town, waving to everyone, and quickly got into a good rhythm. We had many views of the Mekong River as the landscape alternated between small villages and the green countryside. I think it finally hit me that we’re riding along one of the world’s most famous rivers.
The Mekong, the 12th longest river in the world, starts in China and empties into the South China Sea. Along the way, it runs though most of Laos and is a vital resource to the country. It’s very important for growing crops like rice and also providing a major staple in the Lao diet, fish. In addition to providing food staples, it also serves as a border between Laos and Thailand. At one point today I wondered if I could pop over the river and find a 7-Eleven. In the future, it appears that the Mekong will become important in generating electricity for the country. We all know that water schemes are highly controversial, so it should be interesting for Cambodia and Vietnam as things develop.
After finding a great little guesthouse, we had some lunch and headed to the market. It’s now part of the daily ritual and quite entertaining since our friend Hans seems to have an insatiable appetite. He loves to try almost everything and we help him eat whatever he buys. He also loves to drink lots of coffee so you can bet we sat down for the obligatory iced coffee during our afternoon shopping trip. Thank goodness we had already walked through the meat and fish stalls. I’m not sure my stomach could have handled the fresh ox tail laid out amongst the other cuts of raw meat. Oh, and did I mention the flies?
We’re looking forward to a beautiful sunset on the river tonight and an early start in the morning.
See you,

1 comment:

JennSean said...

Yummy ox tail...