Day 80 Handover day with Phileas Ross

5 October 2010

Day of preparation and handover in Luang Prabang including Mekong river boat trip.

Today was a planned transition day for the stage 3- stage 4 cross over. Ross, Paul and Steve completed a long drive though the magnificent mountainous jungle and reached Luang Prabang a day early, enabling a morning adventure before preparing the new crew for the road.

We hired a private river tuk tuk for an early morning boat trip on the river Mekong.  We would be taken to some local villages including the whisky village and the Pak Ou caves. A 2 hour cruise up the river gave some stunning views and chance to experience some of the local villages, fisheries and river life. The first stop was the whisky village where we were greeted with some locally distilled whisky, followed by a visit to the local village temples and market. We moved on to the next stop the Pak Ou caves caves where we explored an ancient Buddha sculpture temple hidden in the depths of caves which are only accessible by boat.

Fact of the day:  Sourced in Tibet, the Mekong is the 12th longest river in the world, winding through China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.  The 4000km river dominates Laos to such an extent that the entire country parallels its course, as was evident from our ride up river!

After a wonderful morning exploring it was time to get back to work.  Paul and Michelle went to work on some administrative tasks including updating the latest comms.  It was time for Lyndsey and Seve to get reacquainted with Martha!  A challenging start to the stage 4 journey lies ahead with the continuation of route 13 from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng.  The road is expected to be mountainous with sharp curves, so some preparation for handling the fire engine in these conditions is essential.  It has been a while now since completing the driving training with Keith back in Wimbledon, so we were taken to a quieter part of town for some refresher training, and coaching by Steve!   Getting used to using the engine breaking and the weight of the fire engine was a valuable experience!  We took one of the main roads leading out of town which was a very pleasant drive into the country alongside a river.  After a short time the tarmac became more like a gravel track so we continued for a while before finding a suitable turning point.

We then headed back to learn about the daily jobs, checks and routines aboard Martha while on the road.  The new crew picked their driver numbers and were assigned jobs for the day before heading back into Luang Prabang to have a final look around this beautiful town and a last evening with Ross!

While the new crew were getting ready for the start of stage 4, sadly Ross had been packing! “Phileas Ross” who today celebrates completing his 80 days travelling around the world has to say goodbye tomorrow…

Unfortunately we didn’t get much more time to visit the night market and some of the local activities nearby such as rafting, trekking and elephant riding but look forward to what lies ahead tomorrow…


[flickr album=72157625107875430 num=30 size=Square]


One Response to “Day 80 Handover day with Phileas Ross”

  1. I am completely in the same boat as you are. I’m renrtniug home in a week, but my mind/heart is still traveling in this region somewhere as well. I know people often say that it’s the journey not the destination that counts but in some retrospect, we have to consider what the destination is (for us, its what we’re going to do after our travels end). A few of my friends have taught in South Korea, Japan, and France they enjoyed their experience. Personally I think you should go somewhere less Westernized like South America. Wherever you chose, you’ll still be teaching and holding onto a piece of your life.I think that it’s amazing you want to take more time to teach abroad/travel instead of committing to being a full-time student again (I know, I’m still hesitant). I say eat the damn whole cake and enjoy it. You can always buy/make a new one or maybe someone will share theirs.