Tuesday 7 February 2017

I'm nearing 4000 islands. I don't think I'll make it in time to be able to catch a ferry to Don Det today, but tomorrow I would have definitely made it - unless some form of disaster strikes.
 This ride south really reminds me of riding through West Africa; long, empty dusty roads that shimmer in the distance. Red earthen tracks that lead off into dry shrub land, and the occasional heard of buffalo that meander into the road.
 I'm really having to race if I'm going to have a chance of making my plans come into fruition, but riding in this heat is tough for my poor, little, air cooled engine. I'm currently making about 240 km a day (that's around 150 miles to you British people; Mum and Dad), but I have to take multiple, hour long breaks throughout the day to prevent overheating. Mid-day it's like a hair dryer on full heat that is trying to cool the engine. It doesn't work! Ed March, a C90 travelling guru gave me some advice about overheating engines when I was going through Africa, saying "if you spit on it and it sizzles, then it's time to stop riding." This happens around an hour and a half. It's about 35 Celsius here (and no, I'm not going to translate that into Fahrenheit, as Fahrenheit is ridiculous).
 I've thought that I've had engine failure once a day for the past three days too. But in actuality I'd just run out of petrol. I still haven't got used to how shockingly shit the quality of fuel is here in the south of Laos. For instance, my tank allows around 7.5 litres before I have to go onto reserve, and it runs through this after around 200 km. I have no idea what the octane level is in this fuel but it must be dire. To put it into perspective, in Vietnam I could get around 50 km per litre, about the same as my Honda CG125 back home. And the fuel here isn't cheap. I feel robbed!
Anyway, this mad dash should be over soon, and I can give my poor little bike a rest. I'm just glad I managed to find some decent oil on route.    

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