Night bus nightmare
Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
32Trip End Apr 25, 2013
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shuttle bus collected us from the hotel at 6pm and we drove around in circles for over an hour picking up travelers from Vietnam and China who are either not ready or AWOL. Arriving at the bus station, there was not enough time to go to the bathroom so I decided to brave the coach loo downstairs only to discover that some idiot has parked a motorcycle against the door, thoughtful when we have a 12h journey ahead. Using a careful combination of English and sign language I communicated this little problem to the bus driver who indicated that he understood and would definitely wait for the two minutes it would take me to use the station facilities
Safely on board, we looked forward to having our own seats with leg room and settled in thinking that sleep would come when the initial chatter and excitement had died down. How wrong we were. An entire night of entertainment had been planned! Firstly the aisle was filled with tiny little pink plastic stools complete with dangerously sharp edges then the seats were filled up with locals. Someone had deposited a Granny in the seat adjacent to Jon, I'd watched a family carefully guide her to her seat at the station then quietly withdraw from the bus, running off down the street with a look of delirious freedom on their faces before she noticed. She started by shouting at everyone around her and poking them in the ribs with a practiced finger. She then commandeered a mobile phone and proceeded to shout into it, presumably at the relatives who abandoned her. After draining the battery on the stolen mobile, she turned her attentions to poking the man next to her and rooting around in her plastic bags.
Meanwhile, the bus driver plugged his USB stick into the radio and was playing his 8 Lao pop songs on continuous repeat and people were trying out all the ringtones on their mobiles
We stopped in the early hours and registered a traumatised looking American behind us. The Lao girl next to him had vomited in his lap, the man in the aisle next to Jon had puked, as had the three people crammed onto two seats in front of us. He'd thought about waking us from our doze but realised that wouldn't be able to escape the Bermuda triangle of vom or the river which was by now flowing under our feet so thankfully left us blissfully unaware. The driver took it upon himself to crank up the volume on the radio at 1am and pretended not to understand the requests to turn it down whilst Granny started to hack up the contents of her lungs into a plastic bag at 2am. I just wanted to cry by this point and Jon was trying to keep on top of the nausea from twisting hillside roads and the smell. We arrived in Luang Prabang at 7am in a state of sleep deprived shock.
After recovering from the nightbus fiasco, we explored Luang Prabang, climbing the mount to a small shrine to watch sunset and hiring a scooter to visit the waterfalls
Each morning at dawn Tak Bat takes place. It is an alms procession where the monks demonstrate their vows of poverty and humility whilst the Lao gain Buddhist merit by gifting traditional sticky rice
L'artisan cafe provides the best poached eggs I've ever had but more importantly, they serve the one thing I've been craving for over a month. They serve proper tea with real milk. Everywhere else its been creamer powder or canned milk. Heaven.
sorry, not many pictures yet as can't get my hands on a PC to upload then.