Just a quick post today, and no photos yet, sorry!
We left Laos this morning, and crossed over into Thailand by the Friendship Bridge. Easiest border-crossing ever, quite possibly, it was fast and efficient with no hassle
The sad news today is that our quintet has now become a trio... Blaise and Christine are currently (we hope) on an overnight bus to Bangkok, as they are skipping the final cycling leg of our journey so that they can partake in some additional traveling before going home - Blaise is heading to Trang and Christine is going to Ko Samet. That leaves us and Luke to cycle the 600+ kilometers to Bangkok (from Vientiane), of which we completed 80km today. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, 140km, but at least the terrain and road conditions are finally in our favor. The land is smooth, no hills really at all, and the road is well-paved, free of debris, and even has a bicycle/scooter lane. Quite the change from small, curvy and rough mountain roads, with animals all about and scooters around every bend...
Our days in Vientiane then were mostly spent relaxing, reminiscing, and enjoying our last days together. It's been a wild and crazy ride (literally), an epic adventure, and a challenging experience for all five of us, and definitely something we will all never forget. Really, how could we?! We did (finally) meet some other cyclists, a group of Chinese students riding from Singapore to Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou is the host of the 2010 Asian Games (a massive sporting event, like the Olympics but for Asian countries only), so while they are riding for fun, they are also working to promote that event, meeting with dignitaries, and while in Laos they were seeing the build-up to the 2009 SE Asian Games, which takes place in Vientiane next month. We showed them a wild night out :-), involving cosmic bowling and some late-night clubbing. It was very fun to meet some like-minded people from across the world, and we wish Edward, Wester, Maple, Won, and all of their teammates a fantastic journey back home - good luck with all the hills in northern Laos!
Vientiane itself wasn't very exciting, honestly the temples of Laos are the weakest of the region, and relaxing in coffee shops is only so exciting, so it worked out well that we had ample distractions to keep us busy while in a rather tame capitol city. That said, we had plenty of fun in Laos in general, it was an amazing country and we learned a lot about its people and history while we there.
So now we're just riding back to Bangkok, not really being tourists for the next week, just self-transporters, but that's fine with us since our days on the trip are numbered... we fly back to the States on Dec. 7th (thanks Aleda!), so less than two weeks remain on our epic odyssey. We should break 3000km tomorrow, somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Thailand, which somehow seems very appropriate.
Much love to everyone out there, B & C we miss you already!