CENTRAL LAOS FROM THE CAPITAL, Vientianne, winding around the Mekong towards the south, the sometimes forgotten parts. It took some coaxing to get her to smile, but it was worth it in the end.In the thin strip of central Laos between the Mekong (Thailand) and the mountains (Vietnam), a tuk tuk heads home for the day.I was glad I was cycling rather than riding that bus, but I did have to do some pennance on Laos transport, too.Tha Kek was the first place I went to in Laos, a sleepy town in a sleepy country. I hired a mountain bike and cycled east for a day.Another happy farmer.A rickety wooden bridge spans a tributary of the Mekong.Plastic replaces the wicker baskets, but the bamboo pole technique survives.Village girls stare.Fresh vegetables in Savannakhet.Laos PDR army soldiers sitting around doing nothing.On the outskirts of Savannakhet, city soon gives way to country.Some of the scenery I enjoyed on my bike ride.It's been almost 20 years since I visited Laos. Change will have come to many places, but I am confident quiet places like these remain the same.Man rolls up a fat boy in the market.I'd like to say mother, but the grey hair makes me think grannie and baby.A long time ago, before X-box and smartphones, kids in the west used to make their own fun too.A bunch of goofy school kids.Chilli and other vegetables in the market. Laos food is not nearly as well known as Thai, but shares many similarities and dishes with Isaan Thai cuisine.In the bus terminal, a school age girl makes a living selling boiled eggs.Landmines, UXO and "bombies" still kill and maime 4 decades of the American Indochinese war. Some gets put to better uses, like this grill.An after school snack of fresh fruit.School marching band practise in the capital.Student practise drumming in the shadow of the Patuxai or Victory Gate, which celebrates the battle for independence.