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….
Villagers working in a rice paddy…
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! 🙂
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….
Patuxal Gate, Vientiane, Laos
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! 🙂
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)!!!
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