Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 23rd Dien Bien to Sin Ho 102 km

Spectacular adventure today! Great climbs - we even had to break down and use the granny gear on the first climb today - mountain Thai villages, neatly piled cords of firewood (an indication that it can get cold), beautiful warm temperatures, the riding just gets better and better. A couple of people had to jump in the van today but for some at least it was easy fantastic riding. Near the end coming into Muong Lay we ran into mega construction as a huge new dam is being built on the Da River and communities are being relocated before being flooded.  This creates what they call in Chinese fashion a New Economic Development zone.  Not easy for us to get a feel for how willingly this transition will occur. Then we drove and drove and drove, up and up and up to 1573 meters to a secluded mountain village. We had to get out at one point as the driver spun and slid over greasy red clay. We were all holding our breath, some nearly sobbing. Took 3 hours to drive 60 km and we arrived just before 7 pm.  But all safe and sound.  Vertical gain:  1376 m; vertical loss: 1671 m

The hills are beautiful vistas to the eye, mists hovering, but it does not want to be captured on camera: still shy from the wars and devestation.

The hotel tonight in Sin Ho was a delapidated Communist hotel.  Service lacking - the girl at the reception rolled out a Thai blanket and slept on the floor all night.  One computer.  Lighting dodgy going bright and dim.  Little or no hot water at times.  Everything damp from the high mountain mists.  Dinner and breakfast sketchy.  But we were expecting it so everyone at least reasonably happy.

Doug Sly

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