~And let us pursue that most tempting of
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Biking the Bolaven Plateau, Laos
Our goal yesterday was to get up at 6am and be on the motorbike by 7am, but as it turned out, that didn’t happen. While I was finishing eating breakfast, Bryan went and rented the motorbike at about 9am. Later he told me while he was turning the motorbike around to test drive, he almost ran into the sign across the road. It’s okay, family and friends, this was the only incident throughout the day.
We grabbed our day packs and off we went to explore Bolvean Plateau. It took a bit of time for the both of us to feel comfortable on the motorbike, Bryan as the driver and me as the passenger. At one point we had to cross a bridge that would have been defined as non-navigable if it weren’t for the two wooden planks that ran across. We had to stay steady on one side of the bridge or else we were pretty screwed. After driving on the bridge, the barely paved roads seemed like a piece of cake.
There were no big cities around and everything was pretty rural. As a result, we saw many farm animals, including pigs, cows, chickens, and even water buffalo crossing the street. Actually, we almost hit a cow.
What better way to see how local Southern Lao people live and what their little villages look like then on a motorbike? We drove by many people in their villages and as they were walking on the side of the road. Almost all of them looked at us, smiled and waved, and said “Sabadee,” which is hello in Lao. I’m pretty sure they were amazed to see people other than Laos, especially the children, as we were the only tourists/backpackers I saw throughout the day. We received a lot of I love you’s and heart symbols by the local kids. It was incredibly cute and sweet. At one point, we stopped to see a waterfall, and there were about 20 kids sitting at the table next to us just staring. They kept saying hi over and over with the heart symbol. I wish I could have taken a picture of this moment, in fact, they probably would have loved having their picture taken. Opportunity missed. Oh well.
The Villages were small with farm animals everywhere. The houses were more like little huts elevated high on wooden stilts, probably for the rainy season. There was a lot of luscious green jungle surrounding the villages with dirt roads running through the them. The only paved road was the one main road which we were on for the most part, except when we turned into the villages to see the waterfalls.
We saw a total of three beautiful waterfalls and saw a lot of little naked children swimming in them. One of the waterfalls had little huts set next to the river where the locals set up for a day picnic. As we were walking through, one of the local guys took a picture of Bryan and me in a non-discreet way.
Towards the end of the day, my butt and upper thighs were in a lot of pain, and I could barely get on and off the motorbike. I also had the privilege of acquiring the worst raccoon eyes I have ever seen thanks to the sun and my pink and yellow fluorescent sunglasses. Life is good.