Laos, Buses and Vientiane

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 01, 2006

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Thursday, March 2, 2006

We're back!
Another update again as we have sped up a bit to get back to Thailand in time for TEFL course and wildlife volunteering, sorry!

So another day another bus and this was another record topper for bad. When booking the bus to Laos (Lao depending on where you look) we decided to pay the extra $5 for the better bus (as it's a 22 hour journey). We were told the other bus is generally only for Vietnamese people, is packed and stops everywhere. So during the day we wandered around Hanoi visiting the Mousoleum and Interneting before getting back to the hotel for the bus. Once at the hotel we collected our laundry (well remembered) and were told 'quick, quick' time to go. We are hurried down the road and round the corner to the tour place where we then sit for an hour. Finally the moto comes and after a 20 minute terrifying drive across Hanoi (at one point we missed an on-coming bus by an inch) we arrive at the bus. At the bus it becomes clear that we are the only 'farang', it's completely packed and all the seats have people's stuff on it, obviously we got done for the $5! Danny and I can only laugh as more and more boxes are passed through the back window into the bus. One of the boxes I think contained fish (alive) as all the back row got soaked where the box had been sitting and there was an odd splashing sound from it. As our Vietnamese is patchy at best and no one on the bus spoke any English we eventually managed to get two wet seats at the back with all the boxes!

So off we go with no leg room, legs either over boxes or twisted around them looking forward to the next 22 hours! Thankfully there were a few hours when Danny and I had three seats to share, but mostly Danny was against the window with his legs over me, I was sitting with my legs over the boxes and luggage, one guy was asleep on my shoulder and two more were next to him. It was all very friendly and soon we were all dozing and dribbling together! Although squashed it was not too bad apart from not having any idea if/where or for how long we would stop, how we were going to get a visa on the border and there were only three songs being played over the speakers over and over (and over) again all night!.
At 4:30am we arrived at the border and slept on the bus till 6 (thank you so much PHGU for the travel pillow). When the border opened we somehow managed to get departure cards, Laos visas and make it back to our bus for the second half of the journey (Damm those airlines with there expensive luxury flights).
Still can't complain (unless that's what I'm doing to you) we met people who got on the other tourist bus and they said it crashed, completely crunching the front and they had to sit by the road at 3am for repairs, so maybe it was better on our bus!

So now in Laos sixth country along the way and so far it has been really great. First impressions of Laos and it's capital are how few people there are (6 million total in the size of Britain). The weather is warmer, prices a little lower, is more relaxed, lots of smiling people and really nice food.
Yesterday we met a few people and had a dinner by the dried up Mekong and today walked around the city. We managed to navigate around despite there being no street names and saw 5-6 Wats and monuments. One Wat (Wat Si Saket) was very impressive as it had over 3000 Buddhas inside.
So up to Vang Vieng next for a few days as the journey continues.....

Hope you are all ok, take care,
us :)
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mills01480 on

Good afternoon Vietnam/ Good morning Laos
You must be suffering from a high level of confusion about where you are, having been to so many countries and interesting places !
We like the sound of Vietnam very much....may see if we can build some of this in to our trip ?
I find your entries really uplifting, sitting here with all the humdrum stuff of normal day to day life....good on ya for going for it......hope it continues to be everything you hoped traveling would be.
May see you when the money eventually runs out ?


mills01480 on

Hi from Mum
Dan and Kate

Buses seem to be a nasty word, but you will never forget these experiences, Dad says the greyhound will be OK and so we will try the buses. The motor cycles look better but just as dangerous.

I have hurt my leg, another thing going wrong, the calf muscle is torn the doc thinks, guess I could of made that diagnosis. I am going crazy at home doing nothing and we have Nanny Mills here too. She is well and moving to live with Joyce.

Things are moving on the house and we are packing and clearing out. The new house is near Hinchingbrooke hospital and we can walk(sore point)straight in the country park from our house. I am really excited about travelling as we are planning inbetween packing and phone calls. We are trying to add Peru and Galapacos Islands (Kate are you envious). Dad has been to STA travel to price it.

I showed Nanny Mills the photos and she thought it was amazing, it must of cost a fortune for the site was all she could say as she watched in awe.

Looking forward to the next installment, same place, same time, same channel.

Love u

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