Within a minute of leaving our guesthouse we were drafting off another tractor. This time only for 15km or so, but we still managed to set a good pace for the rest of the day. We passed many more small villages on the way, as well as many kilometers of dusty brown fields. We stopped several times on the way. During one of our stops we watched a couple of local women pound rice. It was an extremely labour-intensive task. Their timing was amazing as they alternated hitting the rice with heavy wooden pestles. One of them was just a little girl, no more than 12 years old. The older woman looked incredibly strong. She raised her pestle as high as her extended body could reach, and hit the mortar with all of the pestle's weight plus her added power. She had a smile on her face, and if her body didn't give her away you might not notice her strain. We were taken aback by the amount of work that is required to produce just a few handfuls of rice; not to mention the part where it is planted and harvested. We thought back to Canada, where our rice comes in bags we can readily afford to purchase; the hardest part being deciding which brand of rice to choose. We are completely disconnected from our food, whereas the lives of many are defined by the pursuit/acquisition of it.
We stopped in Seno for some strong café Lao. It was sweet, enamel-eroding strong and gave us a much needed boost. We carried on towards Savannakhet. A very low-key, cute little town with French-colonial architecture, a view of Thailand across the Mekong and a wonderfully cheap and delicious little restaurant serving up greatly anticipated variety. We checked one of the wats in town with its many resident canines, and watched the sun set on the Mekong. At dinnertime we hung out with two Australian couples traveling on motorbikes, and figured it's not a bad way to go. The younger couple of the two originally started out backpacking through SE Asia which left them feeling a bit 'flat', and then got inspired to purchase a couple of old police motorbikes, strap their backpacks to the back and make some miles on their own terms. There are of course pros and cons to both modes of travel.
We managed to find a local store with ice-cream, chocolate and other yummy treats. Myles was very happy.