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Damn you technology gods or traveling gods or whoever is in power.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Laptop- NTLDR is missing or Error Loading Operating System. shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. I just picked up a copy of Counter Strike (which I have been without since my laptop died last in Nepal) and then bang, crash, pow. SHit shit shit shit shit.

Digital Camera- Yup, the new one. Lens Error. SHit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Look in the manual for what lens error means. Take out batteries and memory card. Re-install batteries and memory card. Power on. If problem persists ship to technical support. SHit shit shit shit shit shit. I have only taken maybe 75 photos so far (I would be able to tell exactly because I had saved the pictures on my laptop but as that is down) shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.

And to add insult to injury, my cell phone (which only can function as a travel clock/alarm (for two days max as the battery is gone), the charger got smashed while in my pack. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.

At the moment I am Savanakhet, it is the border point between central and southern Laos. A old French colonial town that borders the Mekong and houses the second Friendship Bridge with Thailand.

I have pictures from where I did the Central loop that goes through the central wildlands and also more photos of Savanakhet, but as my blog support equipment is not functioning, I can’t post it. Sure, I could just take the memory card out and use the internet cafes computer to do the prep, but screw that and damn the gods. They can kiss my no technology carrying ass. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.

Oh and by the way, I am going to try and respond to comments as they come up rather than waiting a few weeks at a time as it is kind of rude and I should have a little bit more reliable internet options, although no wifi because my computer is crashed. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.

Sitting in the capital Vientiene responding to comments

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

The Mekong ain’t so mighty at the moment.

Well, I made it to Vientiene the capital of Laos. It is about halfway through the length north/south. I have to do some Visa inquiries as one of the plans is to go all the way south through Laos and enter Camobodia. If not I will have to cut through Thailand and then back to Cambodia. Anyways, Vientiene is a really laid back place unlike most capital cities so it is not a bad place to spend a few days. I have time so getting caught up on internet duties as I will be out of the tourist areas for a little while after.

Here are some responses to comments which I am continually behind on, sorry again.

1. Jeremy Kroeker
Steve, it’s so good to see you still riding the bike! I check this site sporadically, so I’m not even sure if it’s the same one you’ve had all along, but ride on, man! Ride on! How are you dealing with shipping the machine and all the paper work? I tried to buy a small bike in Iran, but it turned out to be a nightmare.

Jeremy: This is a whole new monster that I am riding. More of an off-road style bike this time. Well, it’s kind of a old school off road bike. 1950’s style Russian motorcycle. I wouldn’t classify it as powerful, but it is basic and reliable. Sort of. Because it is a Vietnamese registered bike, I have no problems crossing any of the SE Asia borders. Too bad I can’t take it to China otherwise I would ride it back all the way to Russia. Good luck on the book selling and the new book writing. I’ll keep an eye out for it at the guesthouses in case someone possible left one.

2. Debbie
Hi Steve
i am scouring the net for references to those recently or currently in Arambol.
I am desperately trying to trace AMANDA (Mandy) Reid, a 35yr old Scottish woman with balck curly hair and blue eyes. She is staying in the northern area where you were and has been there since December 08 – massage and yoga training.
Amanda needs to phone home URGENTLY and I’d be grateful if you or any of your contacts know her or her whereabouts could you please ask her to contact her brother Mike. Thank you, Debbie Coulter, UK

Debbie: I am glad they got a hold of her.

3. ropard

Ropard: Thanks, I’ll give it a look.

4. judy
Hey! You’re just about set to go mushing with me in Alaska!! (Or Minnesota). I have my mukluks now so I’m ready for some cold weather!
Sure have enjoyed your entertaining writings and great pictures as of late, as usual. Take care of Sasha and be safe and Happy Tet Holidays! Will be looking forward to hearing more from you. Cheers! Judy

Judy: I don’t know about the whole dog mushing thing. Seems pretty complicated. Being that cold all the time is not my pie. I like perfect weather with blue skies and puffy white clouds. I think I need a rest from adventure travels.

5. Jason McNeill
Hi Steve – Katie and I stayed with you in Dominica for a while in 2005, when you started your trip. I just wanted to say that I cannot believe that you are still going strong almost 4 years later! All the best!

Jason and Katie: Wow, amazing to hear from you. You are actually the first people that I met on this trip. Actually I also got an e-mail from a girl from Denmark who I met in Venezuela which would have been around my second month). Hope the married life is going well, that seems more of an adventure than mine. Tell Katie hello from me.

6. Edgard
There’s not such a place as “Juarez” in Peru, it’s “Huaraz”… nothing to do at all with the Mexican place. I would post it where that entry is, but comments are closed there…

Edgard: Thanks. My bad. Although when a gringo pronounces either one they sound the same. I’ll do a quick search and change.

7. Rebecca Very cool photos…thanks for sharing…

Rebecca: Thanks. Expect a lot more especially with my new camera. I am skewing towards the picture is worth a thousand words. Plus it takes a lot less time than writing.

8. Gire Konsey
Thanks for the blog. Like Racho i want to thank you for putting my birth and childhood in the light. I would really love to ask you questions about yabello, its been so long since i left and i more than curios to see how it has change if at all?

Gire: I would have to say that it is probably a lot more modernized now that when you were there. Heck, they even have a new University going up with housing and everything. It had the most facilities on the whole route. Still peaceful though and had some good food.

9. Bron
Wow Got and of those lettuce seeds for me. Bron

Bron: Would you like that shipped to your home of office.

10. Yash
Well , the problem is very simple:-
1. We dnot drive away or disallow poor people from entering our cities like in China.
2. We were quite a clean, rich and well maintained nation unless the Britishers arrived and wiin 200 yrs they increased poverty level from 6% to 66% and their mismanagement created dirty and filthy Kolkata , overcrowded Bombay to name a few . Why, western people dont understand that how can a democracy repair all the damage caused by them in 200 yrs within 60 yrs .You people first destroy and then complain for the damage to the victim.

Yash: No complaints here as surprisingly I am sure that is what a lot of people go there for. Not necessarily the trash, but that the culture remains similar to 200 years ago. Unfortunately with good there is bad. I think most people would find India more interesting than a sterilized city like Singapore. Unless you’re a clean freak. Like what I said in my post, most tourists only get to see from the outside, they never take the time or initiative to get to see the inside to know that the culture is based on cleanliness. The borders where that stops is where the confusion comes in.

11. Marisa
Happy New Year! I’m familiar with your “eating at the same place” methodology and its subsequent rewards — special treats from the kitchen, and even a free meal on my last night. Sorry to hear about your camera. I had a digital camera that I dropped into a river in Africa. It dried out and worked fine until I left it at a restaurant in Russia.

Marisa: Got my new camera and it is working fine. I remember your camera which was tiny but still had that big optical zoom. A real good view screen as well. That is where mine is really lacking as in the sun the glare makes it unviewable. That is why I got the eye viewfinder as well.

12. yazeed
oh yeah…Google earth and Google maps area awesome…on the latter you can even pull up the street view and then
travel about the neighborhood as if you were walking/driving around…

Yazeed: I should give the maps a try and to see if they would be useful on my travels. I should pick up a gps with all the driving I am doing. I have the laptop but it is too huge and the battery is fried so it has to be plugged in to work. Ohhh, technology so much easier but so much harder.

13. Rebecca
Fantastic photos! I worked for a family owned business and the family was Jewish. Our president took a vacation to Israel and brought us back a “spa” basket with items from the Dead the Sea. The mud was fabulous; it was the best mud mask I ever had!

Rebecca: You have to do the float it is one of the best physical experiences that I have done and I almost passed it up as it seemed so touristic. The other place in the world that had some miracle mud was in Tobago. They have a bay there where the fine pieces of coral collect. You rub that stuff on your skin and it defoliates and polishes your skin. It feels like you have rubbed baby oil on your skin it is so smooth.

14. Marisa
Liked the photo with the guide holding the “Shoebox”
The tunnels looked like a nice claustrophobic experience.

Marisa: Hot, sweaty, and humid. Claustrophobia is not a problem for me but if it was combined with getting bombed, yea, I would have a huge problem with that. Big props for the VC.

Doing the tube.

Saturday, February 14th, 2009
dscn0267.JPG After my little excitement with Sasha, I made a dash for my next destination of Vang Vieng. I say dash as it was my second attempt and third time at that ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jars are the best!!!!

Saturday, February 14th, 2009
dscn0239.JPG After being emotionally, physically, and mentally drained by seeing the first plain of jars at the Plain of Jars, I took an extra day in Phonsavan to see site II and III. [Continue reading this entry]

On my way to look at jars..

Friday, February 6th, 2009
dscn0223.JPG Some nice scenery south of Luang Prabang. dscn0224.JPG The little town where I stopped for the night. Jars were about a ten hour drive away, but that ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chillin in Luang Prabang

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
luang-prabang.JPG The good old Mekong River. LP is a major tourist hub as it is a World Heritage site as well as a major jump off point for pretty much everywhere in Laos. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Gooooood Morning Laos!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
laos.JPG Upon entry into sunny Laos. laos-1.JPG Laos was much more rural than Vietnam. It was almost a 100kms before I even hit tarred roads. The best ... [Continue reading this entry]

Goodbye Vietnam

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
vietnam.JPG My last stop on the road out of Vietnam was the town of Diem Bien Phu. I really knew very much about the place but I learned that it was the site ... [Continue reading this entry]