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It's Almost Like Another Country ere
Rating : ( 4.2 ) ( 9 votes )

Pakse, Lao Peoples Dem Rep
Dec 04, 2003 09:39

Pros: different experience
Cons: none

Regretfully leaving the oasis that is Don Dhet, we went to catch the 9:30 local bus, which was actually the 8am bus that left at 10:15, after driving backwards down the road we had just come up. Initially seated on a bag of rice in the aisle I was ceremoniously transferred to a seat vacated by two monks, along with another guy. Now this seat was 3/4 width of all the others and over the engine, so my feet started to catch fire as I watched the road pass by in the hole beneath my left foot. I love travelling!

Loas seems much drier than Cambodia, odd given that we were not that far from the border. It struck me that it actually resembles the Africa that I remember from my childhood. The roads, are infinitely better than in Cambodia and the journey was without much incident. I had always thought that Laos was in a worse state than Cambodia, but from what I seen so far, that is not the case. So far I have also found the people less in your face than the screaming smiling masses I came across in Cambodia. I have not yet worked out if it is their famous lacksadasicalness, caution or resentment.

Using up a day to wait for the night Special VIP bus to Vientiene we headed to the Pre Angkorian temple of Wat Phu. It is much older and less preserved than the ones at Angkor, but it sits in such a glorious setting on the side of a mountain. You climb to the top through an alleyway of Frangipani trees to a little shrine at the top, and there are about 1% of the people that there are at Angkor.

The 'that sounds like a great idea bus' turned into a nightmare 'worst idea I ever had' bus. Anxious to demonstrate that they really do have airconditioning it was set at absolute zero for 10 hours. I lay shivering under 2 blankets and a sarong. Several attempts at asking them to turn it off of down only seemed to offend them. 10 hours of travelling through water buffalo, the driver had the bus sideways, tires squealing at one point, we hit Vientiene. A couple of hours kip (boom boom), and we tried to find something to do. It is a bit of a nothing city, for a capital, so we settled on the Buddha Park. Travelling by the slowest tuk tuk in the world (kids on bicycles took 5 minutes to pass) it was an interesing diversion. That night decided that I was leaving Richard and Mel the next day to spend some time in Vang Vieng, they were ploughing on through to Luang Phrabang. So Richard and I got very drunk on Red Wine and Scotch and used the luxurious flushing sit down loo with toilet paper in the French Restaraunt. God bless the French for providing toilets with piped music.