I spent nearly all of my time in Vietnam alone. I met a handful of other cyclists and outside of the major tourist centres a handful of english speakers. Then I came to Laos.
In Vietnam my communications in English were largely facebook and email. Tom would occasionally send family photos to my kindle, when they appeared it was like opening a present because you weren’t quite sure what it would be.
Since Luang Prabang I have had Ryans company and we’ve rarely been alone at dinner, largely from the company of other cyclists.
We’ve come to the conclusion that cyclists have some cool tales of adventures behind them. Here’s a quick summary:
Phonsaven I met Wim and Tine from Belguim (http://movingaround.be/) who had just met up with Alia from Netherlands (I think) and were going the opposite direction from me. Wim has ridden Canada to Argentina on a previous trip.
Luang Prabang I met 8 Thai guys out touring, followed by 3 guys that worked in Hong Kong, two of them were riding for a week, but Thomas was on a long adventure back home. I may cross paths with him again after ryan leaves.
We also met Jix and Amande from France who are making a documentary on education systems in remote areas. Check out their stuff at http://www.juste-un-tour-en-velo.com/. We did a day trip and shared a couple of dinners and several beers with them. We also met a German guy called Ben, the previous day Ben had decided that late in the afternoon he would prefer to ride the remaining 70km to LP rather than stay where he was. He arrived a few hours after dark having covered 200km in one day.
Leaving LP by Boat to Pak Beng, we met Brian, the maker of Hobo Maps, maps designed by a cyclist for cyclists, with references to landmarks etc. http://hobomaps.com/. We told him we’d report on the little travelled road from Pak Beng to Huay Xai (ryanon2wheels.wordpress.com the short answer is don’t ride it.)
From Huay Xai we spent 3 days at the Gibbon Experience, an eco-tourism outfit that is supporting a conservation project for Gibbons. It mixes up the highlights between attempting to spot gibbons shaking the trees as they swing and zip-lining across valleys on wires way way abve the jungle canopy. No cyclists, but people.
This morning we had a rolling breakfast in Viong Phukka with two Dutch cyclists heading towards Huay Xai, as soon as they left we were joined by Thomas, also from Holland, who was heading our way and we leapfrogged with all day.
Phew. Thats a lot of cyclists!
Next time I might even write about what we’ve been doing.