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The Night the Earth Moved

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I had a choice when leaving Vientiane: a day bus to my intended destination of Pakse arriving ostensibly at 10pm; a day bus to a closer town; or a night bus to Pakse. I chose my usual last resort - the night bus. Except this one was different - it was a “sleeping” bus. A two-tiered bus, it had double-bunk style sleeping berths similar in size I think to the one I had on the train to Bangkok (pictured in an earlier entry) although a little shorter. Only thing it was shared between two. Plus maybe some gear. One way to meet people I guess.

The road from Luang Prabang to Vientiane may have been windy and narrower than usual, but it was generally an ok road. Roads further south are … not so ok. Not as bad as the road from hell; but rough enough to constantly feel. From what I could tell in the dark, the terrain was mostly flat. It was more comfortable lying down than sitting and I did get some sleep.

I arrived at Pakse northern bus terminal early in the morning, once again beside the Mekong river that would surely have given a smoother ride. It is a feature of Lao towns that they have a bus station on the north side of town, for buses to the north; a station on the south side for buses to the south; and maybe one near the centre for local and sideways, I guess. Guaranteed income for the tsongkaeo and yuk-tuk drivers.

So I got a ride into Pakse town, walked down one side of the street, picked up some information for onward buses, crossed the road. And took a yuk-tuk to the southern bus station. The town just didn’t inspire me at 8am.

The bus to Salavan, to the east, was a real bus. A couple of fans at the front. Seats from the 50’s maybe. Holes in it. No livestock on board which was the only thing missing to give it true character.


Posted by grasshopper 19:28 Archived in Laos

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