All is going well, with early starts (13°c v 29°c by 11.00am) proving both essential for pleasant cycling and allowing us to experience the mellow colours and tranquility resulting from the dawning light.
Whilst the terrain has got more hilly in the Luang Prabang Range the climbs have not been too challenging, whilst allowing for exhilarating downhills and some fun rollercoasters.
From Chiang Khan we followed the Thai – Laos border along the Mekong and then the smaller Hueang river. Eventually heading south west, away from the border, just beyond the little town of Tha Li where we spent Friday night. A delightful young Thai couple, with a cute little cafe, cooked us a tasty chicken and fried rice dish followed by waffles with local bananas and chocolate sauce – yum. They were very interested in our journey but left us feeling very old with their astonishment that we could undertake such a trip at our age (the Thais have no qualms at asking how old we are).
Most agricultural land is taken up with rice – typically three crops are grown each year, harvest is in full swing. Yesterday we watched as one farmer threshed the grains from the stalks by repeatedly beating the seed heads against the ground, back breaking work for hours in 30+degree heat. Today we passed a group feeding the sheaves into a threshing machine powered by the hydraulics on a small tractor. The chaff and ‘straw’ being blown into the air before landing in a big heap.