The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/169308192 (All tarmac, quiet and scenic)
After 40km of lovely flatness, a gruelling 60km of 10% climbing followed to reach Lak Xao, our last destination in Laos (for a month anyway). Water and snack stops where thin on the ground, although I did get the chance to sample some chocolate flavour corn puffs – not as exciting as they sound. As a result we were hot tired and hungry by the time we arrived in Lak Xao at late afternoon, but any feelings of rugged hard coreness swiftly evaporated at 9pm when, on a post dinner ice cream hunt, 3 bike tourists rolled past us in the dark without bike lights, shoes, cycling shorts, any type of navigational device and with panniers made out of large plastic oil drums. We had already heard about the “crazy Argentinians” through the bike touring grapevine, and they more than lived up to their reputation. The trio had been cycle touring for the last 4 years, sleeping in Wats and juggling in schools as they went – I imagine their budget per day was about a tenth of ours, and although thousands of miles of off-road cycling with minimal equipment , barefeet, with ripped clothing and bucket showering was not something either of us were envious of, the Argentinians were still brimming with enthusiasm.