GT Rider goes in the Mekong

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. Yep it happened alright in down town Luang Prabang yesterday.
    I only witnessed the recovery so cant make an honest report, but a report's coming from either the support crew who witnessed the whole event, or from the new star of the Mekong himself!!

    Keep the power on
  2. Well you know how it is, a casual comment can lead to the bold act itself. As we were cruisng down the Mekong from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang aboard our comfortable river boat I made the comment that the water would be a bit cold for a swim. Mr. KTM mentioned something to the effect that he planned to swim the river. I see. A day or so later when we were sitting by the riverside in Luang Prabang on a relaxed afternoon, and if I recall correctly after several Beer Lao's I said we should go check the water temperature. I thought it was COLD but Mister KTM said no problem and proceeded to swim around a bit. Now I was getting a bit worried. Was he really going to challenge the Mekhong? At this time his girlfriend, Nang and her friend Joy showed up and wanted to go across the river to check out the temples on the other side. So much for swimming. The boat driver wanted $1 each to take us over and back. Off we went. After wandering around and watching some of the kids trying to catch fish we were ready to head back for more afternoon cocktails. Mr KTM now was studing the current with his steely eyes. As a former ship captain he stated, with authority, that a 45 degree swimming angle should put him back at the exact spot we had left from. OK it wasn't me swimming so off he went to his departure point. I had thought that a bit farther up the river would have been a better point but what do I know, I'm not swimming it. As Mr KTM started his quest the girls and I departed in the river boat. The plan being that we would "shadow" Mr KTM in case of distress. As you know all best plans sometimes come to not. We no more than got 10 meters out into the river and our boat engine konked out. As our driver made several trips to the engine to see what the problem was Mr KTM seemed to making good progress across and also avoided several speed boats that went wizzing past him. Well it seems he was getting a bit tired and wanted to end this quest but when he looked around waving, we were no where to be seen. Your on your own how baby. As we aproached at a high rate of speed Mr KTM was thrashing his way to his finish and we arrived in time to get pictures of an exhausted swimmer. Anyone up for the now annual Mekhong crossing?
  3. I have given it some due thought, and now feel that John works in concert with the devil. What started as one of my typical musings of odd things to do to entertain myself, somehow under the subtle manipulations of John turned into the real deal. It really started with a " lets go down and check the water temp". Then it was " lets go across the river to see what is on the other side". Next thing I know I am sizing up the current for my landing spot on the other side, and then I am off. After of course John promising me with guiltless eyes that he would carefully take the boat after me to act as a backup. I thought what the hell !!! Either glory awaits me, or a boat pickup somewhere in the middle. About somewhere in the middle of the river I realized that I am going to have to pick up my swimming speed or end up WAY downriver making for a very long trip.....The added speed really started to take a toll on the middle aged body. Started to wish I had spent more time in the gym. Three quarters of the way across I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. So of course started waving for my backup boat to zip over and get me. And waited and waited and waited......Now the new reality sets in, which is basically swim like hell or die. So that is what I did. When I was almost at the end of course the boat comes roaring over, after correcting engine trouble. Next year will have two back up boats.
    As I was getting out of the water I asked the boat guy how many people have swum across the river. He looked at me as if I was nuts and said he had never seen anyone do it before. Somehow I had thought that some people had done it. 17679713-M.jpg

    This is what the whole river looks like. The current in the middle is quite fast and slows down along the bank.
  4. You are DA MAN or FL if I may be so bold. That si something for the record book.


    "what's behind me is not important"
  5. "The added speed really started to take a toll on the middle aged body."

    Like that one 100%, it reminds me of looking for some obscure mickey mouse cave high up on a 45-degree slope 17 kms out Chomphet across the Mekong from Luang Prabang, a few months ago. I only forced myself to complete the climb because I would have lost face if I’d called it quits.

    Now there's no doubt that Mr KTM has set a new benchmark for GT Riders with his epic.
    I was sitting at the table downing a whisky or two at my fave restaurant in LPB when I observed Robert swaggering down the footpath towards me, shirt off, dripping wet, as pale as, & noticeably silent.
    He & the "support crew" sat down at the table but it was couple of minutes before anyone would speak & let it out.
    The KTM man spoke the least himself - he was still out of breath - & when he did it was only to excuse himself to go back to the hotel for a short “kip.”
    More than an hour later, he returned to acknowledge that yes he’d done it, but only survived because the adrenalin kept him going. He was still extremely pale & I don't doubt that it was indeed a close call.
    So, Mr KTM you’re also the GT Rider Mekong man! Well done but don’t ask me to participate in the next one.

    Keep the power on

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