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Blog 101 Samboon to Pakse

4th January

As I ride down the plains and paddy fields of southern Laos where so much looks like it did yesterday that if I was an alien and landed in a spaceship I wold not be able to tell the difference between the a rice paddy in Laos and one in Vietnam, well, I wouldn't put money on it. Sometimes you have to dig deep in your head to make sense of the day.

A Bit of Information

Rice farming has a long history in Laos. Rice farming in Southern Laos is believed to have commenced around 4,000 BC, with domesticated water buffalo and iron tipped ploughs in use as early as 500 BC. The know-how to grow rice is believed to have been brought to the region by the Tai ethnic group which emigrated south along the Mekong River from China. From the earliest times rice farming in Laos was mostly confined to the lowland areas and the plateaus in the north of the country. Over 80% of Laos is mountainous with slopes of 30% or more, and an average height of 1,500 above sea level in the hilly north of the country. Rice farming is possible in mountainous terrain with the use of terracing but this form of rice cultivation is heavy on labour and less productive than lowland farming on a flat landscape.

pic: Prahiad

I'm not myself just now - I'm not a ghost in a machine, I'm not someone I no longer recognise because I've been on the road four months moving every day, inching my way around the world - literally: I feel unwell and as if my body doesn't belong to me and I don't recognise that.

I look back at my cycling history and don't recognise that either - 1983, first ever ride to the source of the White Nile. No one had done such things, a few of us pioneered ultra endurance cycling - it was picking low hanging fruit from small trees.

And in 1985 I got my first big sponsorship deal, you could have bought a house with what I got but I bought a canal boat instead - houses didn't excite me. Still don't.

And this was my Dad and I. I once rode back to the UK from Kathmandu - it took my 3 months and he didn't know I'd gone. When I got back he said 'where have you been son?' And I told him.

"Kathmandu, what did you go there for, now sit down and eat your chips theyre going cold, you can tell your mum all about it later."

Map of the Day

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