Phayo, Franche-Compte, Elounda, Jum

Southward Bound

Please remind me why I’m here?
Motorcycle morning

Ok, thanks
Thakhek countryside

M decided to skip the backpacker fave, Thakhek loop, so we stuck to sights nearer “home”. A satisfying, Laotian way of doing things it turned out. Because there are LOTS of caves right outside your front door. They don’t measure up to famed Konglor Cave on the loop, but they’re surely worth a visit for their low-key, local charm.
Entrance to Buddha Cave, Thakhek
Path to Buddha Cave

Though the sights are “minor”, even sleepy Savannakhet offers a choice of tours and excursions, nicely assembled in colored brochures available at the Savannakhet Eco-guide Unit or the tourism office in town. We took the Dong Natad and Bungva Lake Cycling Tour, (on our motorcycle!) for a look around rural Savannakhet
Savannakhet scenery

What you can’t see in this picture, is the moment when a very sweet lady came out of her house, struck up a conversation, hugged me and gave us two woven friendship bracelets, which we’re still wearing…..

Pakse seems to have thrown off much of the wild-west roughness that charmed us years ago, but we’re guiltily enjoying the enhanced food options! Croissants from a French bakery, Italian pasta al dente at world traveler Corrado’s excellent Dok Mai restaurant.

Unexpectedly, and for a sad reason, (the Pakse plane crash on October 16th), we happened upon another, late, end of lent festival . Here, the festivities centered around the colorful, rough and ready boat races, that filled the town, from early morning on, with keyed-up athletes
Racing

devoted fans
Fans

and eager shopper(s) from all around the world (yesss!)
International clientele

We’re leaving in a couple of days, but we’re not done with you yet Laos!

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