Sabai-dii!! The children are yelling as we pass. They are waving vividly and start laughing hysterically when we wave back at them. We have gone on a 5 day motorcycle trip to the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos.

We pass a number of stalls selling braided bamboo for roofing. Then numerous stalls selling durian, pineapple and jack fruit.
They don’t smell too good – but they love them here
Jack fruit in all sizes and shapes
And bananas..

Why 15 stalls all selling the exact same thing have to lie side by side along the road I will never be able to understand. Then we hear the sound of iron on iron – they are selling knifes – fresh of the bolt.
We stopped by an open air museum and met these lovely ladies

As evening approached we find ourselves a nice balcony overlooking a waterfall and the river where the activities are just picking up. The men are fishing, the kids are playing and bathing while the women are washing both themselves and the laundry before the sun settles behind the trees. A couple of pigs walks past on the brink and received a lot of yelling for taking en interest in the kids clothes.
Bo and Beerlao
It is not as easy as it looks – and you don’t catch a whole lot of fish either
Bathing Lao women

The rainy season is not far of and we have already had some fierce tropical showers in the city but out here in the countryside it is crispy dry. The houses are empty. They are only used for sowing and harvesting and I get the feeling that this is what it must feel like riding through the area around Tjernobyl. Not a soul or any sign of life at all. Just these lovely houses on stilts and brown dry fields. No one is waving here and it is easy to suddenly feel very lonely…

Typical house on stilts – except the emptiness
Sometimes they look like this..;-)

We rode past the local hardware store

Things to see and things you end up doing…
The sights along the way included a number of waterfalls, all beautiful on their own. There was also some war material from the Vietnam war on the list. It was a bit of the beaten track, and since we were there it was easy to choose to go a little bit further.. The two small Hondas hit the dirt roads. When all the signs started to be in Vietnamese and people stopped smiling it was time to turn around.

Complete with Russian and Vietnamese writing

The elusive plateau
On day 3 we were still riding in the same oven-temperatured lowlands and had even lost sight of the wall of the plateau and were starting to wonder if we would get to ride on it at all.

Hmm which way? – on the map there is only one straight road..

Asking for directions – we’re on the right track!

The following day we headed up a potholed dirt road after a filling of dried meat – potentially of barking dear – while watching the last drops of blood dribble from the cute little noses of a bunch of squirrels hanging, newly gutted, upside down in the next stall. It seems that one of the main reasons that there is so little wildlife in Laos is because it tastes so good..

The jungle that had once been surrounding the road had been chopped down and turned into charcoal, making what should have been a shady ride through the wilderness a slightly hot and depressing trip from one black patch to the next.

It is a hot dusty ride

Only the studs left along with the occasional blackened trunk was left.

Two dusty travellers with helmet hair and a beautiful waterfall

There might not be a whole lot of water – but it is huge – that tiny dot is Bo
Beautiful.. waterfall into a giant pit of green..
She really wanted a picture with the funny strangers.. We are SO smelly and dirty but maybe that just added a little spice to it all
A few waterfalls dropping out of more intact looking crispy green forest lightened up the day and in the late afternoon the terrain changed, the temperature dropped and a thundercloud lulled ominously at the horizon.
Water power station – Laos style

With so many other things going on we had barely noticed that the road had climbed and we had made it finally to the Bolaven plateu .

Here they grow coffee