Happy Birthday GirlRob! LOVED all the emails and Facebook notes from family and friends!!
Bought our last French baguette from a stall to have for lunch along the way – with chicken, avocado, cheese, lettuce and cucumber, it was the Asian equivalent of Subway.
Drove north, leaving Mekong behind. Poor road full of deep potholes, bitumen almost gone in many places; turnoff west to cross Oudom Xay mountain range (BoyRob says he's changed gears so many times he thinks he's done a hamstring...)
Said hello to boys carrying heavy loads of sugarcane in bags with straps around forehead.
Phil and Mads were looking for primary school to give kids book package they bought in Luang Prabang, Big Brother literacy project. Saw huge numbers of kids walking home from school at midday, must be enormous size school in this village. Kids looked too well dressed so drove on. Horses (first seen) in ridge village. One village totally full of pigs, so fat their teats brush the ground when waddling, baby pigs running everywhere. Also saw animal like fox (civet?) hanging up by tail for dinner. Came to end of mountain crossing at Houaylin and turned north for border; vehicle travelling well.
Camped in service station complex, on oh-so-rare-lawn (!!) in front of unoccupied owner’s house beside it. BoyRob made bacon carbonara for dinner, celebrated birthday at village of Houaylin Laos with candle on slice of chocolate cake shared between six of us – a pleasant evening to sit outside. Bonus gift - hot shower worked beautifully.