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March 28th, 2011 | Asia

Reunited in Pakxe…

Early the next morning, I went down to the parking lot to see if I could find the owner of the GS800 that was parked next to the Big Fella…

Morgan Parker's F800GS, looking a bit battered...!!

I took a closer look at the bike and saw that it had been through the wringer… It had clearly been ridden down the “paths less traveled”…!!

After taking a short walk, I returned to the hotel just as owner and bike pulled up outside the front doors of the hotel… A pile of kit lay nearby, ready to be loaded…

Interesting artwork in the Pakxe Hotel...

We introduced ourselves and kept up our chatter while Morgan checked out… Back at the bike a few minutes later, I commented that he was looking a bit pale…

“Yeah… I’m not feeling too good, Mate…!! Must have been something I ate out in the jungle a few days ago…!!” he replied as he swung the last of his kit onto the back of his bike…

Minutes later, we were unloading the bike again, after he decided to spend another day in Pakxe, trying to shake the stomach bug that he had picked up…

We met for a light lunch later in the day and he told me all about the work he was doing for the ten charities he was representing on his ride through South East Asia…

Morgan lives in Hong Kong, and had started his ride in China, before working his way through Vietnam and into Laos… He will ride through ten countries, and a full documentary of his expedition is being filmed for National Geographic… He was currently on a break from filming and spending a week enjoying riding and exploring on his own…

You can read all about Morgan on his website, www.wheel2wheel.tv Check out his amazing adventures and the extraordinary work he is doing in this part of the world…

Earlier in the day I had called Trevor Wilson to see how things were going in Vientiane… The background noise told me that he was in the saddle and had taken the call while riding…

“We’ve left Vientiane and are on our way down to you….!!” he advised, “Send me the co-ords of the hotel, and we will see you later tonight…!!”

Having considered doing the ride from Vientiane to Pakxe myself a few days previously, I knew they were in a for a long hard ride…!!

While Morgan chose to stay within a few strides of his toilet, I spent the afternoon “working” and managed to bring my website up to date… The first time in ages that I had been able to do so…

At 6.00pm, Trevor sent me text advising that they were waiting downstairs…

"Hey Buddy...!! Where have you been...??" Big Red and the Big Fella reunited in Pakxe...

The excitement of seeing Trevor and Chenty again had been building up in me all day, and although we had spent only a handful of hours together in Syria, and ridden barely a 100 kms together, it felt as if we had known each other for far longer…!! We embraced in the lobby, and then retired to the rooftop restaurant to enjoy a beer together…

I had expected Morgan to join us, but his condition had not improved much, so we went out to have dinner without him…

The following morning, and looking no better than he had the previous day, Morgan left for Thailand…

We gathered to wish Morgan farewell before he crossed over into Thailand...

As I watched him roar away down the road, I had no idea that our paths would be crossing again in just a few days…

Heading to the Pakxe market on a Tuk-Tuk...

Chillies, tomatoes. and onions find their way into many dishes here in South East Asia...

Having ridden for a solid nine hours the day before, Trevor and Chenty understandably decided to have an “off” day in Pakxe…

After a short walk to see the nearby Chinese Temple, we hopped aboard a waiting Tuk-Tuk, and headed for the local market…

The first section we walked through was filled with fresh produce… Many of the vegetables on offer were foreign to us, and trying to find out what they were was a mission that I eventually gave up on…!!

The market was housed under a series of open-sided structures and one section flowed into another…

We stopped to look at all the fish on display, both dried and long dead, and those that were very much alive, writhing in the bottom of shallow tubs that lined the walkways…

The market was one of the biggest I had seen since Istanbul... This was the fresh produce section...

We weren't sure about the bowl of brown stuff... The smell alone had us moving swiftly along...!!

We weren't keen on the poultry on offer either...!!

Many species of dried fish on display...

Fresh fish were stacked on tables, while others were being kept alive in shallow drums...

Trevor finds something of interest in the meat section...

When business was a bit slow, these ladies gave each other a pedicure... In amongst all the produce on sale...!!

Fruit I could deal with, and bought a kilo of Tangerines...

Water Lily blooms in a pond near our hotel...

Pink to go with the purple...

While having dinner at the Jasmine restaurant later that evening, we discussed our plans for the following day…

We decided to ride into Cambodia as far as the town of Kratie to see if it was worth trying to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins that live in the Mekong River… I had heard that this was the best place on the river to see these endangered mammals, and that there were barely a hundred specimens still surviving there…

Over a tasty meal, we exchanged news about our individual rides after we parted in Syria… We had followed an almost identical routes in Nepal and much of Thailand, and had ridden the same roads in Laos, although in many cases under different conditions…

Trevor’s description of their rides in India had me thankful that I had chosen the shorter option to ride in that country…!! Watching some of their video footage later, confirmed that my decision had been an excellent one…!!

Their GPS had taken them on little used tracks, over bridges made from empty oil drums, through areas of thick sand and muddy roads that had probably never seen four wheeled vehicles…!! Rides that I am sure they will always remember, and in some cases, not too fondly…!!

The next day would see us riding on a section of road in Cambodia that we would both have reason to remember as well…!!

©GBWT 2011

1 comment to Reunited in Pakxe…

  • Mark Behr

    Interesting place. Hope you asked for a pedicure as well.
    Those markets look a bit suspect – wise to only buy fruit.

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