The chat: A rest day in Savannakhet was spent eating, wandering around town taking in some rather splendid colonial architecture, and hunting for ice cream (a regular and often unrewarding pastime). The wonder of pho noodle soup is already beginning to wear a little thin for us, however Laotians seem to absolutely love the stuff – out of large towns if you walk into any restaurant you will see lots of people all slurping from large bowls at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having had noodle soup three times a day for several days it was pretty exciting to discover a new food type – rice flour pancakes stuffed with pork and herbs and served at breakfast, along with coffee Laos – an industrial strength filter coffee served with about an inch of condensed milk in a glass – way more delicious than it sounds and guaranteed to have you storming up the next hill/running for the nearest toilet.
After a strenuous “walking tour” I headed for a Laos massage. The sign outside the massage place promised an hour of “gentle stretching and massage” , all for the bargain price of £2.50 After putting on a ridiculously large pair of pyjamaish things my aching legs were stretched into various extreme contortions while being pummelled. I can only liken it to a sports massage where the masseur really really hates you, but my legs felt amazing afterwards (this may just be because the pummeling had stopped).