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Sleepy Champasak

sunny 30 °C

Sleepy Champasak
Champasak is a terribly quiet place in low season. There's maybe a dozen 'farang' in this series of small villages that stretch along the Mekong River and we make up half that number. We're staying in a place called the Anouxa Guesthouse, a family run establishment that is in off-season mode. We rented bicycles from them yesterday and after trying out 8 or 9 rusty variations we finally settled on four that might take us the 10km to Wat Phou. Wat Phou houses the largest Khmer ruins outside of Cambodia and was the centre of the Khmer kingdom before they upped sticks and moved it to the much more famous Angkor Wat. They began construction of a now disappeared city in the 5th century A.D. but the religious complex that still exists was only built in the 11th century A.D. The whole thing is a Hindu complex that sits at the base of the Phu Kao mountain and its very impressive. There are amazing views out over the plains below and you can see why they picked this place for it.

Our outward journey was pretty uneventful, it was a pretty cloudy day and perfect for the bicycles. We stopped at a roadside noodle restaurant and had one of the cheapest meals on our travels thus far. After a whirlwind tour of the complex we set out for home. Disaster struck. My back tube blew and despite some helpful info from locals there was nowhere around that could repair it or sell me a new tube. I resigned myself to pushing the bike home and sent the others onwards, the sun sets pretty early in these parts and it was already past four in the afternoon. I attempted to flag down any passing trucks or tuk-tuks to no avail. After pushing it for around 800 metres I spied Caroline and the children ahead. The chain on Harry's bike had come off and a local chap was attempting to set it to right. Once done and after he'd refused payment they all set off on their bikes again and I continued on foot. Then the rain started. After another kilometre or so I spied the rest of the family ahead again. They were waiting by a truck whose driver had stopped for a roadside toilet stop. Caroline was straight over and badgered him into giving me a lift wih the bike. Once I got there we threw all the bikes in and hitched a ride home on the back of the truck. Fortunately, it appears that you can always depend on the kindness of strangers.

Last night we got a bit of a buzz going with some other travellers here in the guesthouse, an Aussie and his Guatamalean girlfriend, Ralf the German and half a dozen or so Thai dudes over from Bangkok for a few days. They were top buzzers who after the 10pm curfew insisted we finish our drinks on their balcony. Although I say its sleepy here in Champasak, there's still enough of a buzz about the place to make it enjoyable.

Posted by goldenmaverick 00:22 Archived in Laos

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