This is typical of most of this Leg through Laos: not much traffic, a dirt road and groups of local villagers collecting for either the local Buddhist temple or the Christian church (Catholicism is not uncommon in Laos). Just like charity collections at stop lights in Australia, most of the vigorous tin waving was done by enthusiastic teenage girls. How could I resist? A 1000 kip note (40 cents) seemed to throw everyone into paroxisms of delight, so we all got our money's worth I reckon. Actually, I found these poor farmers the best of company and a welcome respite from the lonely mid-afternoon slog.
If you look closely at this photo you'll see the sealed section beginning (a change of colour) right at the end of the road on the rise, although the road is pretty much flat all the way to the VN border. Also, and you can't tell this from the photo, it was very hot.