We arrived at Bay's home/business shortly after 8am. Once there we hung out with Amy, his 11month old daughter while the mom was busy preparing breakfast and dad was busy taking care of his business. Amy was pretty easygoing, and we had a great time with her. Shortly, breakfast of fried veggies, dried beef, fried eggs and steamed rice were served. Very tasty. We spend time with the family afterwards. Bay was inviting us to return to Laos and visit him in the future. It made for a wonderful start to the day, and to our stay in Laos. We started heading out of town after saying our goodbyes. We had over 85km to ride.
The ride was similar to what we've seen of Laos since crossing the border at Lao Bao. The terrain was mainly flat, with small undulating hills. All vegetation looked very dry, this being the dry season. Many fields looked as though they were slashed and burned. There was a fair amount of haze.
We passed small villages of no more than a handful of homes and one or two small stores/food-stalls. At one point we passed a stand selling squirrels, rats and dead wild birds, including a small hawk. Everything is on the menu in these parts.
We were beginning to get tired with 25km or so left to go when a tractor carrying a family of 3 showed up. As soon as it passed us, going roughly 25km/hr we knew we had to seize our opportunity. It took us a few minutes to catch it, but once we did it was smooth sailing. We drafted off the tractor to within a couple of kilometers off our destination. All the while the little girl sitting in the back with her mom kept looking in our direction. Slowly she began to smile every time we made eye contact, as did her mom. When they were about to pull off the road, the father stopped the tractor slowly and pointed to where they were heading. Myles pulled out a few oranges we had left and shared them with the family before we waved goodbye. We got incredibly warm feelings from the family. Even though no words were spoken we both felt that a connection was made. It made us feel very grateful to be able to travel in this beautiful country.
We ended the day with some German sausages and potatoes for dinner. The Thai/German-owned guesthouse we stayed at was a little ways out of town, and the staff was very friendly and outgoing. It was a great end to a great day.