Ride to Phonsavan
Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
260Trip End Ongoing
I decided I wasn't concerned about armed attack, but a bus ride through the mountains always raises other concerns. People in SE Asia habitually drive on the wrong side of the road. Lane distinctions are consistently ignored. Everyone takes the easiest and quickest path no matter which side of the road it may be on. (I ended a sentence with a preposition. I'm an ignorant bastard). Drivers simply tap on their horn as a warning to oncoming drivers. The problem is, warnings don't help with there's nowhere else to go. There's no shoulder to pull onto (I did it again)
When we first left the station everyone onboard was given a plastic bag. I figured it was to put trash in even though SE Asians don't normally care where their refuse goes - out the window, in the river, the floor of a train, a well-manicured garden. It's all the same. They treat their country like more of a trash can than Mexicans do, which is quite an accomplishment. Well, I found out during the journey that the bag wasn't for trash. It was for whatever contents people had carelessly brought onboard in their stomachs. Food, like life, is transitory. The road to Phonsavanh is at no point straight. Serpentine comes to mind, but this doesn't begin to describe the path. Snakes curve, but there is some uniformity to their movement. This road wasn't a calmly winding or meandering path. It was haphazard. It was like traveling through someone's small intestines. We drove 10 miles for every one we moved forward. I don't get motion sick, but it was still rough. Your innards are constantly shifting back and forth, left to right, and often very quickly. Fortunately there was a stop in the middle of the trip that allowed people to take a deep breath and compose themselves
Lindsey was smart enough to take her Dramamine and we arrived unscathed. We even got there a little early. And to top it all off there was a guy from the hotel we planned on staying at already at the bus station. He was recruiting people for the guesthouse and we got a free ride into town. The room was pretty nice and relatively inexpensive. TVs aren't something we ever look for, but the nicer rooms tend to have them. This one did, and it turns out that CNN airs a special edition of the Daily Show on Saturday nights. We were liking Laos better all the time.