Easy rider – heading to Tad Lo

Wind in hair, a straight – and surprisingly well-maintained – road as long as the eye can see, landscapes, houses, kids flying by, I push the bike slightly faster and wonder how  I could ever wish to sit on the back rather than ride the bike myself. We’re on our way to Tad Lo from Pakse – we being Renate and her “gang” that I met up with again in Savannakhet, our being apart didn’t last too long – on rented semiautomatic scooters. It’s the first time in my life driving a motorbike all by myself, and I absolutely love it. And then, something is terribly wrong, I don’t feel in control of the bike anymore, I skid slightly, but before anything bad can happen I brake hard and stop at the side of the road.

“I think there’s something wrong with my bike” I shout to Dugie – one of the two English guys in our group – when he slows to a halt behind me.
“Sure there’s something wrong with your bike, honey, you had a puncture”.
We take a look at my back wheel, and there, sticking out from the side, is a long nail of some kind, we found the source all right. Soon Renate, Ingrid and Kaleb shows up as well, and we send Ingrid ahead to tell those in front, while Dugie heads back to the small city we – luckily –passed by not too long ago, to try to find someone to fix it.

Soon Matt – the other English guy – arrives from the frontiers and informs us that we have another puncture in the group, we’re glad that if we first were to have two punctures, at least we had them at the same time.

After what feels like ages Dugie comes back with a guy from the village, apparently he knows of a place close by where they can fix the bikes. The guy takes my bike, and I jump onto the back of someone else and then we’re off. As the bikes get fixed we turn into the attraction of the day. Loads of local kids gather around the small motor shop and watch us and the bikes as a guy change the inner tubes of the punctured tires. It costs less than a hot dog at 7/11 in Norway, so when they run up to us before we set off again – hoping to reach Tad Lo before dark – to give us the broken inner tubes in case we want to fix them, we give them as a goodbye gift and bid farewell, ready for more adventures.

(1) Our wonderfully crazy and nice motorcycle gang – minus Ingrid, 2) Matt ready to hit the road, 3) The nail to blame…, 4)A restaurant in Tad Lo getting attacked by flying maggots, a guy working there kept on catching them and told us that they would be fried and eaten the day after , 5) An adorable little Lao kid in Tad Lo after he got a pen, he and a little girl followed us and wanted to ride our backs for a while, and we felt like we were kidnapping them)