Somewhere in Asia travel blog

Fading socialism in Laos

Riverbank gardens

The road

The Mekong

Cutter ants???

Notice the white fungus-like substance

Ant bathing in the sun

Fish drying

At the Thabok market

Someone's home

Followed by a bicycle gang

Left behind

Distance: 55km

Another day, another late start. The ride was quite interesting. We passed villages with freshwater fish drying in the sun, and many local women weaving baskets under the shade of their homes. We stopped at the side of the road after noticing the Mekong paralleling close to the road. The steep bank of the river was covered with rows and rows of planted vegetables. The river was low, as one might expect it to be in the dry season. The dry sandy river bed extended for close to 100m. We thought that this environment must transform itself completely when the rains come, and the dry soil turns black, the river swells and vegetation explodes with green. We sat back and enjoyed the view, as well as studied some cutter ants (we think) that found a home on one of the many vines around us.

Thabok is barely a town if one is to judge it by its apparent size. It does have 2 guesthouses and a few restaurants, but it retains its feel. The nearby river adds to its beauty. After settling in one of the guesthouses we headed to the market in hopes of finding some fruit. There were many local villagers selling veggies and various meats (including 2 juicy rats, hair and all) on the ground surrounding the perimeter of a large building. Housed inside the building were many stalls with clothing and household items. We scored some bananas and a pineapple, and feasted on some tasty sesame treats.

Afterwards we headed across the bridge and down a small road and discovered an old wat and a small village full of old wood/bamboo homes. We walked up and down the tiny dirt roads and observed the locals doing what they probably do every day about this time. We crossed paths with chickens, pigs, cows, goats, dogs and cats. A number of local kids kept following us on their bicycles, stopping whenever we stopped. Many locals enjoyed strolling up and down the paths same way as we did. We passed a whole family sitting outside their home with everyone working together to remove seeds from tamarind pods. They were having a good time laughing and teasing each other.

We ended up having dinner with an American cyclist who was staying at the same guesthouse for the night. Some decent eats, dark Beerlao lager to wash it all down and some good chats.

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