A guy on a motorbike appeared to my left. Since it was my first encounter with a Lao local and I didn't yet how the Laotian people would react to my appearance. I got a bit nervous. My first thought was Please! If you don't have anything nice to say, then please keep moving.
In broken English he asked: "Need help?"
"I'm good. Thanks!"
"Push Lak Sao", he said and pointed down the road.
I took a quick shower, grabbed some Kip out of an ATM and walked across the street to a restaurant. I was super hungry since I only had an orange and a handful of crackers throughout the whole day. I stopped for a second at the doorstep and took a deep breath. Please let me in and if not, at least don't yell at me.
I sat down. The waitress handed me the menu and I ordered a portion fried rice with vegetable. Nothing extraordinary but it felt like a feast to me and shuffled it into my mouth.
On my way back to my room I saw a group of teenage boys playing barefoot football in a park. I joined and played until I got blisters under my feet. :D
I know, reading about buying food in a restaurant and playing football sounds incredible unspectacular, but due to my latest experiences in Vietnam it felt just amazing to me and made me feel like a human being again.
I planned to follow the 1E road to Thakhek and then basically follow the Mekong River south to Cambodia. I expected to arrive in Cambodia latest in three weeks including rest days.
I arrived in Thakhek a couple of days later. Meanwhile I almost forgot about my unpleasant experiences in Vietnam because wherever I was in Laos, everyone greeted and welcomed me with a friendly "Sabaidee!" (Lao: Hello!).
The Vietnamese border was already closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now the media reported that Thailand would do the same and the Lao government announced a Lockdown. How Cambodia would handle the situation wasn't clear yet.
In Laos I felt welcomed and appreciated and I was also convinced that the lockdown and its related travel restrictions would last for maximum three months. No economy can afford to shut down for a longer time. I know, looking back it sounds naive. But whoever knew better, I hope you made a bet with your bookie back then and you're a rich now. ;)
The lockdown got lifted after two months and thus traveling across province borders was allowed again. According to the news it was still possible to enter Cambodia. What a relief. Happy that I could continue my journey I set off and pedaled in direction south.
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