It was time to chill out and one of the best towns in the world to do so is Luang Prabang in Laos. I forget what day I arrived and I don't know what day it is today , but I guess I was here about 2 weeks. So welcoming is Luang Prabang, that in these 2 weeks, I had my regular sandwich stall, where my 'Lao Mama' would make up a fine chicken sandwich for breakfast. She'd always throw in a few bananas to ensure I'd return tomorrow. Then its across the road to where my 'Lao Papa' at the coffee stall would boil me up a pint sized ultra strong Lao coffee. The evenings would be spent chatting to different people in the hostel or heading down to the night market stall to get fresh tasty food at a reasonable price. Afternoons would be spent wandering or having lunch in a restaurant with wi-fi and catching up with emails and trying to decide where GCR is off to next.
Thanks for all the emails and general interest in GCR. Just to answer a few questions that regularly came up. What kind of bike do I use. This is the bike. www.koga-signature.com/build-your-own-bike.aspx?country=NL&language=en. This bike and all its components have been great except for the Magura brakes, which packed it in after 12000KMs. Complicated and impossible to fix in Central Asia. The Magura service kit I ordered didn't even include brake pads of any instructions. The final straw was when myself and a Belgium nuclear physicists spent 2 hours working on them. He threw his hands in the air saying,' Why are these things so unnecessararily complicated. They ended up in the bin. Similarly, Markus's Magura brakes were nothing but trouble after 12000KMs. All other components on my bike were XT Deore and so finally I found new XT Dore brakes in Bangkok and these have been working fine since I got them 4000KMs ago. The other thing I've gotten asked a lot, 'Is what kind of work did I do at home, that gave me the time and cash to venture off for over a year?' At home I worked as a tour guide with a company named Vagabond. Check out http://www.vagabond.ie/. Nice work driving around the best parts of Ireland keeping tourists entertained with laughter, education, fun, history and singing songs. Luang Prabang is as good as a town can be but I don't plan spending Christmas here. Tomorrow I leave town and plan to get a boat north, back up to the border region with China and Vietnam. Gcr is supposed to be a cycling trip. It will soon be time to start pedaling again