Luang Prabang – Vientiane, Laos, to Udon Thani, Thailand – January 20-25, 2014

January 20, 2014

We started out from Luang Prabang this morning, thinking we could make it to Vientiane – the capital city of Laos, in one day (ha ha).  The road climbed into the mountains to a very high altitude (close to 9,000 ft) where we rode all day.  It was slow going, and cold!  We had purchased some inexpensive (and light) jackets in Chiang Khong, not expecting much cold weather. We stopped for lunch at a Chinese restaurant for hot soup and hot tea, trying to warm up. Here are a few pictures from the ride today….P1080817

Chasing a pig! He ran as fast as his little legs would go in front of us for quite a bit before veering off to the side!P1080823 Limestone karsts (rock formations), LaosP1080836

Villagers working in a rice paddy…

P1080849 Common transportation in Laos…

P1080873

More karsts… the whole area is covered with a haze that mars the visibility of the mountains…wishing it would be clear to see the expanses we must be missing!!P1080879

This lady was working hard chopping wood…P1080883 P1080894 P1080902

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We stayed the night in Vang Vieng on the Nam Song River.  This town used to be THE party town – but in 2011 when 27 tourists died (most by drowning in the river when they were wasted), the town shut down most of the bars on the river.  It is much quieter now, but still a backpacker destination.

We are hoping to reach Vientiane today! 🙂

Twin girls in Laos….P1080945

Their truck blew a tire…P1080954

Three on a scooter… The Asian girls can ride side saddle quite gracefully! P1080956 P1080958

Wednesday – Thursday, January 22-23, 2014- Vientiane, Laos

Made it to Vientiane…the layout of this city was confusing for the first few days.  We stayed 3 nights…. good hotel for $40 a night…visited the sights….went bowling… got the new back tire on the motorcycle… enjoyed listening to live music next to the Nam Phou Fountain…walked through the riverside park….

Nam Phou Fountain, Vientiane, Laos

Nam Phou Fountain, Vientiane, Laos

P1080983

Patuxal Gate, Vientiane, Laos

P1080965 P1080968 P1080969Statue of Chou Anouvong, Riverside Park, Vientiane, Laos

P1080970Sunset over one of the many temples – Vientiane, Laos
P1080980Tomorrow we cross over the Mekong River border back into Thailand.  Six days in Laos was good…but plenty long!

Friday, January 24, 2014

We rode down to the Friendship Bridge south of Vientiane.  Took the wrong road which led us on an hour long detour on a dirt road that had been heavily watered down to the point of being muddy.  With that detour, we will be hitting the border at lunchtime – again!

Leaving Laos and crossing back into Thailand took about and hour and a half. This border crossing is much busier than the one at Chiang Khong.  No waiting for lunch breaks….just waiting in long lines for three different booths.  We were allowed to ride across the bridge into the town of Nong Khai.  The traffic lanes cross just before we enter the bridge, switching from driving on the right to driving on the left. We stopped for lunch and gas as soon as we arrived in Thailand – so good to be back in the land of smiles!  🙂

Crossing the Friendship Bridge from Laos to Thailand

Crossing the Friendship Bridge from Laos to Thailand

Just outside of Udon Thani, Scott began to feel sick… thinking it was the food he had eaten for lunch, we stopped along the road.  He laid down for a few minutes, then said he felt better.  We rode another half hour into the town of Udon Thani, when he felt sick again.  We stopped and he loses his lunch.  His chest hurts.  I get directions to a hospital, we find a hotel and then ride to Aek Udon International Hospital.  They do some tests – ekg, blood, x-ray…. but seem to think it is just indigestion or high blood pressure – which was REALLY high.  They give him an antacid….We go back to the hotel where he spends a restless night in a lot of pain.  In the morning he goes back to the hospital, thinking it might be something wrong with his back…when I arrive a little later, they have determined from another blood test that he indeed had a heart attack and are admitting him to ICU for at least three days of monitoring.  I am so thankful that this did not happen in Laos, but close to a good hospital…   Thank you for all your continued prayers for us and the doctors (and the nurses who have to take care of this patient)!!!

Aek Udon International Hospital, Udon Thani, Thailand

The model patient – ha ha ha – Aek Udon International Hospital, Udon Thani, Thailand

Aek Udon International Hospital

Aek Udon International Hospital, Udon Thani, Thailand

I am reminded of the words of one of my favorite psalms that Jake put to music… “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10

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3 Responses to Luang Prabang – Vientiane, Laos, to Udon Thani, Thailand – January 20-25, 2014

  1. Ken & Dottie says:

    Geeze, glad I read this right away. I was thinking what a great and fun posting…. until I got to the part about Scott being the hospital!!! Pretty scary, I will email you directly. Love and prayers

  2. Denise says:

    Praying for Scott’s health.

  3. Chance says:

    I got your email and it really scared me. I searched the net for an hour until I found your website again. I’m glad to see it looks like things look stable. I sent an email with my phone number.

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