Friday, January 5, 2007

The mighty Mekong 27/12/2006

Finally, after about a week of cycling east, we are enjoying the colors of the
sunset, on the bank of the Mekong, drinking our Thai coffee, with Laos just a
boat ride away.
We're currently at Mukdahan, a "big" city (about 30,000 people), with all its
luxuries: a market, a night market, a 7/11, thousands of food stalls and what
ever one can imagine (depends which one!). Destiny has made us stay an extra day in town: Rami forgot his convertible,
super-fast dry, light pants in the toilets of the police station, at the last
village we stayed at, 45 km away (we camped at the police station). We found out
that they are missing only in the evening.Luckily, we still had the address of officer Kecha, the friendly policeman who
invited us to sleep over there.Luckily 2, our cheep, crappy hotel is just across the Mukdahan police station.
Thanks to the help of 'crazy' Phit, the owner of 'Phit Bakery' (found interest
in our BOB trailers), we managed to get major Kachan (Mukdahan police) to
locate Rami's pants and to arrange their safe 1 hour journey to here. Our plan
(big mistake) was to have an easy spoiled morning, with a walk on the Mekong.At 13:00, 3 hours late, they arrived - believe it or not!
Calm & happy, we enjoyed a short noontime 'shluffen' (when was the last time?)
and woke up hungry. We searched the streets a whole hour for a decent
restaurant (a small stall with a Wak). Just before reaching the conclusion that
Thailand was celebrating 'Kippur Day', we saw a crowd (5 people) around a food
stall (10 big pots with all the local delicacies). Unfortunately, they
explained us, with a big smile, they have no plates, so we can't eat there. The
search went on, till lady luck has brought us to a second, similar food stall,
where we were led into their living room (here in Thailand, the shop is usually
at the entrance to the house - or they just live in their shops!) and had one
of our best meals in Thailand. It was just like back home, with heavy wooden
dining table and chairs, flowers, the Thai "Polish mother" bringing us cold
water from the fridge - with the exception that the food was tasty!

Christmas - MAZAL TOV TO TAL (Happy 18).

We started our day with 85 km to the Mekong (two days ago). Gal was
enthusiastic to go all the way. Old-man Rami wanted his knees to live.We started with a small range of mountains ahead of us. Just as we reached what
looked like the top, we saw a sign: "Coffee shop, Swimming pool, Resort".
Resorts are typically out of our budget, but just out of curiosity we decided
to check it out, even though it was out of our way and down hill. a local has
pointed us "to there, falang, to there" too enthusiastically. We arrived to
Davids' house, where he had a few bungalows and a nice garden with a pool. It
was 12:30, and David told us we were just in time for X-mas dinner, and that
the turkey is ready and the beers are cold. Rami told him that we're on our way
to Turkey and Gal said she is on the way to a cold beer!It was a though decision, to stop cycling just as we started warming up (only
23 km up hill), but, as the saying goes: "when the going gets though..." - so
we started drinking.About 10 of the local falangs, from all over the world, living in the area,
were there.We enjoyed the food, drinks and especially the company, even though as Jew-boys
don't celebrate X-mas.As the hot hours passed, we headed on towards the Mekong (and forgeting Ramis'

Camping on the Mekong 31/12/06

First time the chickens didn't wake us up with their loud "Ku-ku-ri-que" (the formal spelling), Rami took their job and shouted "Gal, wake up!". It was 30 minutes before sunrise, the sky and the Mekong in front of our tent on fire,
with a few clouds, here & there, to add a texture.Our tent is on the south-west bank of the river (Thailand!), 10 meters from the
water. Around us, peppermint, green-onion, Kana, Cilantro & Dill (Oded -
thanks for the translation!) are grown.We can't imagine a better way to start the last day of 2006 (a fantastic year for the both of us).We were cycling towards the sunset, last evening, and arrived to this village
(???), where a big river merges with the Mekong, creating a mixture of colors.
A nice restaurant was waiting for us with a cold Chang beer, just on that
location.After enjoying our beer, we asked the family owning the place, where can we camp
(actually we showed them our famous 'camping note'). They pointed to our
current location - their garden.After arranging our camp, we went to buy some groceries for dinner - noodle
soup with veggies - Thai style.We are writing these lines while drinking our morning coffee & peppermint tea.


Another day 4/1/2007

As usual, we woke up in our tent with the chickens' "Ku-ku-ri-que".To the east, through our tent windows, the sky was all red, with a sunrise-
texture. To the west was the (almost) full moon, seen through the door of the
With the help of the 'gong' of the Wat, we quickly dressed and walked to the
river bank, with our kitchen - the left-side pannier.In 5 minutes we had our aromatic "3-in-1" Nescafe, with the moon setting down
behind the mountains of Laos, over the Mekong.Yesterday, as in the last week, we were slowly cycling towards Nong-Khai, on a
beautiful, unpaved road, on the Mekong bank. As it was getting dark, the road
was getting smaller & smaller, with no village to sleep at in the last 5 km (we
had no food as well).As we continued cycling, the feeling that the road will end on the next bend
got stronger on every bend. As we stopped to change the lens of our glasses to
brighter ones, we saw a full moon, colored orange, rising behind coconut trees,
over rice-paddies surrounding us. Gal was filled with energies, forgetting the
70 km we've cycled. Just as Rami became stressed about the time, and the road
getting nowhere, we saw electricity lines merging with the road - we survived.

Find Gal...

Another beautiful sunset

Local women who woke us up at 06:00 after bringing breakfast to the monks... at least we got breakfast...

The moon rises

Rubber trees

Rami making a Tubeless

In a typical Wat

Delicious soup


Fried bananas

We reached the 'Mighty Mekong'!!!!!

Cold beer

The Mighty Mekong

Ice coffee in the morning (in a plastic bag with a straw)

Another river

Fishermen boats on the Mekong

Another dirt road

On the Mekong bank between fields
Camping on the Mekong:

The dayly beer in the sunset (at the restaurant we slept at)

Making dinner (and drinking...)

Good morning! picturest from our tent

An hour later (writing to the blog)

And off we go...

On the way again

Loa Mountains

Few minutes of rest

Can you guess which river is it?

Amost full moon

A Wat in Laos

Its easier when the road is paved...

More rice-paddies

Is someone counting the sunset pictures?

Celebrating the New-Year in a very small vilage with the local delecaties and more Chang beer

Is it full already?

Another cold beer on the Mighty Mekong after 78 km...