into Laos

Here’s a nice lo-tech map of Laos if you can’t mentally place it, lol. We’re entering at the top left, riding in a zig-zag line south through it to Cambodia. The Mekong (we followed it in China) makes up part of its border with Thailand
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On that subject we found this map showing the Mekong’s massive drainage. All of Laos for example
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Day 1, across the border from Chiang Khong to Luang Namtha
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We had day-one dirt route plotted into the GPS hoping for a fast border crossing, but that was not to be. We flew through the Thai exit and got our escort across the Friendship bridge to Laos then hit a non-moving queue at the immigration window, same as last time. A bus had beaten us here, oh well
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So the back-up route direst to Luang Namtha
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Many small villages
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This one had had electricity recently installed, the meters and wiring were new
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Some homes, usually occupied by the elderly, looking close to collapse
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Bad weather ahead, but sooo green. It’s a hothouse…
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A Buddhist shrine by the road
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Most of the elements here are roosters. I’m still wrestling with the meaning of ten rooster. In Tibetan Buddhism it represents greed, one of the three poisons. Then there’s because King Naresuan made a famous cock fighting wager with the King of Burma. All kinds of stories but nothing solid yet. One of many things to be sorted out
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The first glimpse of the limestone crags that dominate Thailand and Laos
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Dry season. Next rains sufficient for rice are maybe May/June
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This is something Laos is famous for: Bamboo bridges. Fantastic, will expand on this in the next post.

This one is maybe Lucinda-able, but didn’t risk it. About 30 inches wide and wobbly. But watched a scooter do it with aplomb
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Day trip to Muang Sing
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Homework time. Like Thailand, it sounds like it’s all about the ‘aa’ sound, the rest often just wraps around it. Or more likely I have it all wrong, Spanish was so much easier
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The ride north from Namtha is all about the forest. This is a national park
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Bamboo, found wood and thatched villages
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Up here the biggest road hazard is pigs. Further south, cows. Pigs move quite quickly and predictably on the road. Cows are slow but slightly less predictable. They often decide they want to walk with a different cow and make a direction change. Further south, additional hazards
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Street market. We’re off the main routes up here, close to the China border, and they’re very shy
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Mostly root vegetables
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I buy a bag of something from the kids, pay, then hand the bag back with a smile
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Then into this remote village, and ride back to Namtha

I’ve been shooting video for the first time in a year. Movies coming up soon
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Luang Namtha to Oudomxay
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A great ride but lousy roads
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Check out these next two pics. Remarkably similar we thought
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A typical riverside village. The water here is very clean and silt free
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Kids are fishing with old masks and spears. We watch for a while but don’t see nay success, so I guess it requires timing and patience
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A slightly more developed village. You can tell because of the metal roofs
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Here’s the fabulous road. Twisties and green endlessly
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The other direction
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A tiny ground covering everywhere in bloom
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It’s mostly like this here. It’ll change dramatically further south
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Into Oudomxay, a biggish town
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Looks quiet here but it’s mostly a busy place
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Unusual tuk tuks. Quite well built and roomy
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Oranges
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Bigger picture thoughts and stuff coming up

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