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Blog 102 Pakse to Champassak

5th January

Today was an extraordinary day.

It all went wrong and then it all went right.

Did I want to know my future? What was going to happen during the day? Another rice paddy, another stretch of highway I felt I'd seen before?

It it was yes, I recommend you think again. Survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence, endure the not knowing for it makes for a great surprise. And so I left my hotel Le Jardin de Pakse, reluctantly because I badly wanted a day off to catch up with work and rest but decided to continue. The road was flat and smooth and it was a beautiful day. The rice paddies glistened in a warm gentle sun and Google Maps directed me to the southern route to Attapeu on the other side of the mountain a half days ride further on to the Vietnamese border. After consulting with people who should know they said the southern route was better. Don’t ask a local. They don’t know. I rode out of Pakse, spirits building, missed my turnoff east and carried on for 10 kms before turning around when my turn appeared as a red dirt track.

I must learn to trust my Google Maps!

A Bit of Information 1

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The screenplay, co-written by Coppola, John Milius and Michael Herr, is loosely based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, with the setting changed from late 19th-century Congo to the Vietnam War. The film follows a river journey from South Vietnam into Cambodia undertaken by Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), who is on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a renegade Special Forces officer who is accused of murder and presumed insane. The ensemble cast also features Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne and Dennis Hopper. Problems on the shoot included Marlon Brando turning up grossly overweight and unprepared, Martin Sheen had a breakdown on set and much of the expensive set designs were destroyed by the weather.

A Bit of Information 2

Apocalypse Now is today considered one of the greatest films ever made; for instance, it ranked 14th and 19th in Sight & Sound's greatest films poll in 2012 and 2022 respectively.[6] Film critic Kyle Smith dubbed it "the greatest war movie ever made",[7] while The Guardian called it "the best action and war film of all time."[8] In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

A Bit of Information 3

Mekong River, river that is the longest river in Southeast Asia, the 7th longest in Asia, and the 12th longest in the world. It has a length of about 2,700 miles (4,350 km). Rising in southeastern Qinghai province, China, it flows through the eastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan province, after which it forms part of the international border between Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, as well as between Laos and Thailand. The river then flows through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam before draining into the South China Sea south of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Vientiane (Viangchan), the capital of Laos, and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, both stand on its banks. About three-fourths of the drainage area of the Mekong lies within the four countries the river traverses on its lower course—Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The Mekong is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, transporting an estimated 40 thousand tonnes of plastic into the world's oceans each year.

The Course of the Mekong

So I turned around, didn't progress my red on the dirt track and retraced my route until I saw a sign for 'ferry' which for me meant 'photograph' and I followed it to the banks of the River Mekong where I boarded a pirogue for a few pounds and sailed across this amazing river.

Silver linings ....

Map of the Day

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Jan 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Fantastic photography! Can‘t imagine how you do it when it’s all so physically tiring. Watching for your next update with interest. Keep those wheels turning 👏👏👏👏


Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Nick, I loved your video crossing the river in the boat, with a great sound! Sending you an extra portion of genuine pure Swiss Alpine air, to let you breath finely for all these miles to come. Cheers! SwissRalph


Great vlogs Nick! Keep the chin up and the wheels turning!

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