Time to get a move on I suppose…

We’re really pretty keen to get on the road again after a long break… it’s been about 2 and a half weeks since we last made some progress in the truck. The old gal has been resting in Vientiane while we flew down to Phuket for 12 days and caught up with the Markwick crew for an extra special birthday. Safe to say many hours were spent floating in various bodies of water drinking cocktails and beers! Happy hours!

We’ve purchased ourselves a USB fan for the tent! It’s so hot here in Laos but hopefully cooling down in the next few weeks…? To get any sleep at all we were going to need some air flow though and after stopping in about 6 different places Richard convinced a guy in a computer store to sell him his fan that was plugged in and running on the desk haha! A bit of a clean and she’ll be good to go in the penthouse.

The tortured tyre that has survived three (!!) roadside DIY plugs was entirely flat on our return from Phuket so we finally sought some professional attention and had three hot patch repairs. The repairs were quick, inexpensive and more importantly we avoid another tyre rotation and having to purchase new spares so that was really good news as we figured the tyre was toast, and fairly so.

Apart from the 3 days of mutual food poisoning and the mouthful of tiny ants I ate with my Creamy Caramel Whittaker’s chocolate the other day, Vientiane and more specifically our hosts, Andy and Meera, have been truly fantastic. We have got lots of little odd jobs done that there just simply hasn’t been time for until now.

Oh also, I should add that we collected our Cleanwaste loo while in Poo-ket, this is a very exciting addition to our camping equipment I can tell you. All though it’s a little too late to the party it completes the picture for camping comfortably… it’s the most comfortable we can get with our chosen set up anyway!

Tomorrow we head towards the northeast a little and do a 5/6 day loop to take in some scenery… I’ll be pestering you all on Instagram and Facebook soon enough don’t you worry.

X J&R

Laos; leave your eyelids at home…

You won’t want to miss a thing! WOW! It is so truly beautiful here, there just isn’t a picture I could ever take that would do this landscape justice.

It will take the breath from your lungs, the words from your mouth and the heart from your chest.

We crossed the border from China almost 3 days ago. The first night we waited 11 hours for a barge to take us across a 15 metre wide river because the vehicle bridge has “a problem”… it’s been like that for two months haha! We arrived at the bridge at 8pm and boarded the barge at 6.45 the next morning. Suffice to say we were very tired but arrived in Luang Prabang at 7am to find a whole host of excellent cafes with strong coffee made from locally grown and roasted beans, heaven.

It has literally been thrill-a-minute driving here, the roads are chaotic (if they are still in tact) but after 5,000+ kilometres of Chinese highways we are absolutely loving it. There are animals and birds and toddlers and school kids and bikes and mopeds and trucks and cars everywhere. While trying not to take a life you are also trying to avoid catastrophic sized potholes and falling down a mountainside… very excited to see the rest of this fabulous country.

We saw many beautiful things in China but only ever behind walls built for collecting ticket money. The cities seem fantastic too but we never stopped for more than a night and that was frustrating for us. We enjoy modern cities and what they have to offer but we just didn’t get a chance to do what we really wanted to. We would travel China again in a heartbeat but we wouldn’t take the car… it’s too restrictive having a guide, especially one who thinks he’s on his own tour and not yours. A guide who insists his impossibly tiny budget be adhered to at all times. A guide who paces around while you eat your breakfast and then immediately and relentlessly starts eating once he is inside the car. A guide who pulled so much on the back of the seat I thought he was going to snap the blimmin’ thing off. Gah! Don’t take your own car to China… but do travel there, it’s actually fantastic!

We loved a lot of things and didn’t love a lot of things. We saw incredible sights but had to pay through the nose for the privilege… although the worst ones were paying through the nose and then finding it a bit crap. We were so attractive in our orange vehicle that people would circle us on the highway (awkward) or overtake us and then slow down to have a good look (infuriating). We had fast smooth roads but each one came with a hefty toll attached (approx 500 NZD in total). We must feature heavily on China’s mobile phone photo albums too because people took pictures of us all day and all night whilst doing the most ordinary of things (boiling water for instance). There were endless pretty photos to add to Instagram and we would recommend a lot of really unique and interesting places to visit… we will go back for sure and see more of China.

We are tired, the car is filthy and all three of us need a bit of down time so it’s perfect timing to meet the family in Phuket for 12 days. My precious Pa’s 70th birthday celebrations! Can’t wait!