I'm still feeling sick this morning, but we're carrying on anyway, eager to meet Pete and Natasha in Vientiane in two-day's time. Today's route is a winding, hilly affair, and because we've accidentally slept in, all 90km of it is under the soul-suckingly oppressive midday sun. There is no escaping the heat, so we put our heads down and pedal like mad, not stopping much at all for the entire ride.
During a few sections of our sprint, we pass trucks spraying hot tar onto the road. And, miscalculating the mess it will cause, we ride over a few patches of it, splattering our bikes and our legs in thin, sticky layer of the sap-like substance. This is not shaping up to be our most glamorous day on the road. In spite our late start, we make good time, arriving in the town of Phonhong a little before 5PM.
After shacking up at the first guest-house in town, we settle in for the night, cranking up the fan and taking showers. The water is excruciatingly cold, but the eye-popping shock of it feels good after a long day in the sun. It takes quite a bit of elbow grease, but eventually we're able to scrape the Jackson Pollack-esque painting of sticky tar from our legs. As for our bikes, I'll probably have to spend several hours cleaning them with some kind of solvent. But not today.
After a dinner of the usual fried rice, we're ready to go to bed. It's only 8:00 PM, but we're exhausted. My travel alarm clock is long gone, sent home in a package when we realized our cell phone made it redundant. Somewhere along the way, we lost our phone charger, so we can't use that either. These days, we've taken to using nakedalarmclock.com, the supremely memorable third result for the google search "alarm clock"
Tonight, we don't have internet access, so Tyler programs a quick alarm clock that will go off at five AM. With a snicker, he picks the audio file which will wake us: a blood curdling scream from "Psycho", which he used for a halloween joke on a different website he runs. Then, he sets it up so the god-awful sound will loop ad infinitum. I can't wait to start the day with this:
Click approximately fifty times in rapid succession to simulate the following morning.
And with that, we pass out, falling fast, fast asleep. Tomorrow, we make for the capital city, where we'll see our friends again, and decide what to do with our remaining time in Laos.
Check out the bizarre posters hanging in our hotel lobby; what the heck?