Vietnam, Laos and Thailand in 2008...with the Olivetts travel blog

Here is a little more on the ride, as I didn’t get it all in yesterday. During the entire ride it was nearly nonstop shouts of "Sabaidee!" (the Lao greeting) coming from the roadside as I passed through the many villages. Young boys would run to the road’s edge and stand in line with a hand up waiting for the high five as I passed. The people were great everywhere that I stopped (food & water breaks). They actually wanted to have their pictures taken. When I was a couple of miles out of Savannakhet and it was pitch black, I was out of water and very thirsty. In the distance I could hear an announcer’s voice coming over a PA system. As I got nearer I thought that it was probably a temple ceremony and a good place to buy a bottle of water. Outside of the property wall, just off the highway there was a popcorn vendor. I bought a bag and asked about water. He went inside the gate and came out with a bottle for me and said that it was free. Shortly thereafter a Lao man came out and asked where I was from. He said that he now lived in Wichita, Kansas. There were relatives there in Savannakhet at his mother’s house from all over the world. It was his first time home in 7 years, and for some it had been 20. He insisted that I come in and eat. Regardless of my protests, “I stink, I just rode 90 miles and I have to get to Savan for a hotel," it didn’t matter. This was a celebration honoring the dearly departed from his family and nobody cared if I stunk. At one end of the compound was a stage and the other end was a pavilion set up for gifts for the Buddha to remember the dead. There was a steady stream of people coming in, carrying silver bowls with gifts. Everyone in the village was invited to be wined and dined and it looked as though they all came. I guessed there to be a couple of hundred people there. The food was great and the hospitality was wonderful. I believe I got some good photos there. I am particularly excited to see the ones of the 90 year old mother.

Yesterday I couldn’t look at the bike, but today I have ridden a bit. I rode out to the bus terminal to check out tomorrow’s schedule going north. While out there I visited a huge market and took lots of people pictures.

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