13th April – Takhek rest day – 30km, total 2196km

The route: From one waterfight to the next (actually we rode 30km to a cave – http://connect.garmin.com/activity/169308233)

The photo:

No one is exempt from a soaking

The chat:

A bittersweet day. The first day of the Lao (and Cambodia/Thai/Myanmar) New Year, with everyone off work and partying, but also the day of my (Andrew’s) aunt’s funeral. Linda was an incredible woman who survived bombing in the Second World War, cancer (twice – among many other illnesses) and was still conducting a choir and playing the piano (her profession before she ‘retired’) almost to the day she died. Surrounded by the merriment of the New Year festivities, my thoughts were nonetheless with my family (especially my uncle, Andrew) who had gathered in Rome for the funeral.

Instead of staying in Thakhek town we opted instead to cycle through beautiful Karst scenery to a local cave, famed for its cool air and misshapen stalagmites/tites that reminded someone (who was clearly on mind altering drugs) of various commonplace items:

It does look a bit like that, if you squint

The cave itself was worth a wander around, but it was at its entrance that was the place to be. Live music, barbequed food, drinking and lots of waterfights were in full swing when we arrived late morning. On the cycle back, the water fights continued with every vehicle (full to the brim with drunk Laotians) engaged in water fights with anyone and everyone else on the road. We had water sprayed/thrown/hosed at us from motorbikes, vans, trucks, roadside parties and other bystanders. While we couldn’t give quite as good as we got, tail-gunner Sherwood surprised a fair few victims with her sharp shooting.

Back in town, things escalated further still – fire extinguishers and hoses were employed such that the roads looked like the monsoon had started a month early. We watched the madness from a party we had been invited to join, before running the gauntlet one final time back to the travel lodge.

Child soldier - for 3 days only

Street battle

The long and winding road

War wounds

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