Friday, December 3, 2010

Ultimate Jungle experience

From Salavene to Phin it is about 160 km on the road 1G, which I mentioned in my last story. I expected that I would be able to cover this road in 2 days, but at the end I needed three very long days for it. As always it was a bit challenging to figure out where to stop for the night.

Children of my host.
At the first dusk, I stoped a small truck. One of the guys on the truck spoke some English. I asked him about the possibility of accommodation for the night, and he definitely advised me to come back few kilometers because in front of me there was only jungle for next 30 km. The truck was full so I could not jump with Lisu at the back. When we finished the conversation, it was already dark, so they told me to bicycle before the truck and they used their lights to lighten the road in front of me. Great experience to ride a bicycle with such a lights. After twenty minutes of crazy ride, we reached the hospital. They advised me that I should search for a shelter in a hospital. I was not very keen on staying in village hospital, but for sure I did not want to stay in the jungle. None in hospital spoke any English, but they showed me that I can not stay there for a night. But they pointed the house of the local doctor, surgeon. The surgeon was a young guy, he spoke only few words in English and he invited me to stay for a night at his place. I am not sure if I understood him correctly, but he apparently had studied only two years to become surgeon... We ate together dinner and breakfast and in the morning I continued my journey north.

Difficult road through small rivers.
That day I had to pump my back tube two times, since the tube started to leak a bit. I wanted to change the back inner tube, but I did not find a proper place with tools, so I kept biking. Before midday I had a huge lunch. After 13 o’clock my road turned into path. It would not be possible for any car to go on this road. There were also some very sandy parts, where I could not bicycle. Also the air pressure in the back wheel was slowly decreasing biking was becoming harder and harder, and I did not carry air pump with me.

And some holes... still after
bombing in1964?.

Around 14 o’clock I met a boy coming with his cows. When he noticed me, he shouted, escaped and hided over the tree. At this time this road was very abundant and not surprising that the tall white guy with the beard on the bicycle could scary him. I hope I will not be his nightmare….

Half an hour later I met hunter coming from the jungle in flip flops.

Hunter in flip flops.
He was also very surprise to see someone on this road on bicycle. We chatted for a moment, but he did not know the distance to next village. He just said it is far.

Then for the next two hours I did not meet anyone. There were parts too sandy for Lisu, and there were parts that jungle was too close to the road. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plant in the jungle and there were parts that I was afraid to bike in order not to get knocked down from the bike by the bamboo stick.

Around 16 o’clock I met two local people on the motorbike. They told me that I still have around 20 km to cover. There was only 1,5h before sun set. That time I was half time biking and half time walking, so I already prepared myself that I will not reach the village before the sun set.

Jungle too close to road.
I was
too high to fit under the jungle...
The way back was even longer, so I had to go on and speed up. I had to cross several times small rivers biking very fast over them. In order to cross bigger ones I changed my shoes to sandals and I was waking aside Lisu. The latter it was getting the more I was speeding up. The sunset happened and I still had quite a bit distance to cover. Air pressure in the back wheel dropped that biking was really difficult. I promised myself that I buy one soon.

Bigger river to cross.
I was lucky, that night was relatively bright, but I still had some rivers to cross. After sun set I decided not to waste time for changing my shoes to sandals, and I just crossed it in my shoes. Easier, faster. I was really in hurry and I could not exclude that I would have to stay the night in the jungle.

After 8pm I met some lumberman, who told me that I had 4 km to the closest village. The problem was that there were more than one roads/paths… I guess... I investigated almost every possibility, half walking, half biking.

When I finally got on the proper path and the later it was getting, the more lumbermen were around, who were just starting their work. Thanks to their advices I finally managed to find the village around 9.30 pm. There I approached one of the house and asked if I could have stayed for a night. For sure this was the most exhausting day for me and for Lisu. And I was very close to spend my first night in jungle.

Small path.
Lumbermen that I met in the forest were most luckily illegally cutting timber in National Park. Unfortunately Laos people are doing it with Chinese efficiency. All this timber is shipped to China afterwards on a huge trucks. For this timber, Big Brother is building roads in Laos. On one hand there is a need to Laos to develop on the other side, huge parts of this beautiful forest are lost every night...

Muddy road.
Next day I managed to pump the back tyre of Lisu and reached the closest small town to change my inner tube. After 10 km of biking I also reached the second bombed bridge. I jumped on local small boat to cross the river. And on the other side of the river there was very proper dirt road!!! It made me very happy. I biked for few more hours, and one hour after sun set I got on the asphalt road. I would never expected that the asphalt road would make me so happy. Shortly after I arrived to Phin, where I managed to find guest house.

1 comment:

  1. I really like Your stories, biomiko. I can entertain myself as well as improve my reading skills.:D I wish one day I'll be in yours shoes!!