Tuk to the Road

The trials and tukulations of Jo, Ants and Ting Tong the tuk tuk and our three-wheeled odyssey from Bangkok to Brighton...in aid of the mental health charity Mind. For more information please see www.tuktotheroad.com

Monday, June 05, 2006

TT's first real adventure

We are now in Vang Vieng about 150km north of Vientiane. Our driving speed has dropped to an average of about 30mph due to the copious potholes and winding hilly roads. Ants and I were both knackered today and so were each trying to get the other to drive. I thing that we both ate too many cakes over the weekend and as a result were feeling pretty sluggish.

I will back track now to fill you on the past couple of days.

On saturday night we headed out to one of the 2 recommended restaurants in Vientiane. The food was quite good, but not a patch on Thailand. The company was quite interesting. This guy came over and sat at our table who was totally pissed (I assume on BeerLao). He repeated himself very frequently (as drunk people do) and spoke in broken English. His best comment of the night was 'I love you Mr Ant', which I have taken to repeating far too frequently. He fell off the stool and nearly took our table with him. After about 10 minutes our food came, but we were being typically reserved Brits and didn't tell him to leave. In the end a security guard and a waiter asked him to go, which he eventually did. We paid for our supper and then left the restaurant to head back into town. Unfortunately our drunk Laos friend had hung around outside and followed us all the way back to town on his motorbike. We couldn't find a tuktuk and so had to walk. The guy could hardly walk straight and I was totally horrified that he was on a bike. If you want to drive me mad then drink drive. I think drunk people are pretty uninspiring company at the best of times, but to take charge of a car/bike when wasted is unbelievably selfish and stupid. We tried to ask him to leave and maintain a straight face, but when he kept saying 'I love you Mr Ant' it was hard to stop ourselves from giggling. After about 2km he finally got bored and went away. The situation did not feel remotely threatening, merely slightly irritating after the best part of an hour. In England I would have just called the police or been more agressive, but that isn't really an option here. I find that the best thing is to not get aggressive and potentially antagonize a situation.

Sunday: awoke and had breakfast with more Ants in it, which was charming. I didn't need to eat sausages as I had enough protein from the little critters. We went out sightseeing to the beautiful gold temple (can't remember the name) that is the most important in Laos. I don't wear sunglasses and therefore might have sustained slight damage to the innards of my eye- gold is worse than snow. We did a bit of filming and then in the 'avo went for a herbal sauna and massage. I didn't like the sauna and only had a short session. The hot moist air makes me feel panicky and I find the sensation really unpleasant. Instaed I drunk herbal tea and smoked lots of fags. We then had a massage, which was divine. I had a man and Mr Ant had a lady- Ant got the short straw it seems after we compared notes. Luckily I had put my underwear back on under my sarong as it fell off when I sat up mid massage. I know I am a naturist but there is a time and place for nudity and that wasn't it. Poor Mr Ant felt rather unrelaxed after her massage, especially having had the inside of her arm pinched quite hard (unintentionally). What better way to finsih off the aftrenoon than with a sandwich and chocolate eclair. The sandwich was good, but the chocolate eclair contained the wrong sort of cream and to add insult to injury they had added custard. I ate it all the same, but was none too impressed.

This morning we split up. Ants went to sort out our Laos permits and I did some minor tuktuk mechanics i.e. checked the oil, water, tyres and tightened the big bolt on our steering column as our suspension keeps on dropping. Ants returned from the ministry of transport without the permit. Apparently the staff spoke very little english and suggested we return to the Friendship Bridge. Not an option, so she managed to get them to agree to do the paperwork, which we would collect later that morning. Good one Ants.

10.30am we hit the road and I tried to drive down a one way street the wrong way- well done Jo. We picked up our permit and hit the road. As we headed out of town we pulled in to get the tyre pressure topped up. They were each 3psi down and I wrote down the required tyre pressures on my hand for the woman with the air gun. She nodded and squirted some air into TT's tyres. I wondered how she knew the correct pressure as there didn't seem to be a guage visible. Still, I assumed that as she filled up tyres all day then she knew what she was doing. TT suddenly felt very easy to steer and I thought she had probably put a bit too much air in. I didn't realise till later that she had double the suggested air pressure. I will never let a random person violate poor TT again. We are lucky her tyres didn't burst from the excessive air. Tomorrow we will get our digital tyre inflator thing from the roof and do our own air in the future. The vehicles in Laos must all have the most pumped up tyres in SE Asia and this is a risky thing if riding a motorbike- or a three wheeler. Next stop was lunch, which was cold and had unidentifiable objects floating in it- however, it tasted pretty good. As we neared Vang Vieng I thought it might be nice to stop and have a drink by a river. I assumed that the guy that welcomed us was the owner of the shack. He turned out to be totally wasted on BeerLao and proceeded to fill our glasses and slobber all over my cheek. Totally gross, but quite amusing and Ants got some good photos and filming- all at my expense. He got into his 4WD and started to drive. Here we go again, another drunk nutter on the road. He followed us for a few metres further down the road and then luckily turned off. They need some breathalysers in this country. By the way, I only had a sip of beer and totally practice what I preach.

Enough waffle from me now, good night and good afternoon to those in the west. Off tubing tomorrow and no more cake eating.


Blogger heid_honcho said...

great stuff.

you'll love Luang Prabang (if you make it that far. *chortle*)

2:29 AM  
Blogger Stan-Rhode Island said...

When do we get to see some pictures of your adventures ?

Keep going. Your blog is the 1st thing I check every morning. have to find out how "the girls" are doing.

4:46 AM  
Blogger tuktotheroad said...

Ha ha Honcho, so far the roads are fine although hilly, curvy and the odd pothole to keep us concentrating. We leave for Luang Prabang tomorrow and are prepared for a long day on the road. We have been v lucky with the rain and have not had to drive in it once- fingers crossed tomorrow will be the same.
P.S. We are going to try and add some photos now- resizing is causing us issues.

6:56 AM  

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