4/2 – I have not been looking forward to today. We bought tickets two days ago for the bus up and over the mountains to Vang Vieng, about 7 hours south. Every blog post we have read calls this the Bus From Hell, and advises against taking it if at all possible. The roads are so narrow and the turns and switchbacks are so tortuous, that even the strong of stomach are advised to bring barf bags, and those with a tendency toward motion sickness are advised to take the plane.
To make matters worse, Jim and I are both suffering from something we ate yesterday. I’ll spare you the details, but we couldn’t have picked a worse day to be stuck on a bus.
In anticipation, I went to the mini-mart near our guesthouse last night, to see if they carried Dramamine (pills for motion sickness). “I’m taking the bus to Vang Vieng tomorrow”, I said. The clerk walked right over to the shelf and gave me the generic Thai equivalent of Dramamine. I was obviously not the first person with this request!
The tuk-tuk picked us up at 8:30am and took us to the bus station. We had assigned seats right up front, but the seats were over the wheel well, with no room for our legs. We moved back a row and hoped that no one would challenge us for our seats. This would have been unacceptable behavior in China, but here, no one seemed to mind. 30 minutes before departure, we both popped a Dramamine.
As I had not gotten much rest the night before, the pill put me right to sleep. Jim wasn’t so lucky. Every once in a while, the bus would bounce so jarringly that I would open one eye, observe a hairpin turn, and go back to sleep again. So, sorry to say, no pix out the bus window. The shocks on the bus were bad, so every bump in the road made the bus bounce twice. My teeth were rattling in my head. There was no AC, and the temp was in the 90s.
We stopped twice for toilet breaks – best not to describe rural Laotian toilets. Our promised lunch break didn’t occur until 3:30pm, and I wasn’t hungry in the least. We arrived in Vang Vieng by 5 in the afternoon, and shared a tuk-tuk into town.
So now we are at the Laos Haven Hotel, showered and rested. It is a tiny town, compared to Luang Prabang, with only one main street, and not many tourists. Here is the view out our hotel window, of the main street.
Traffic on the main street.
Looks like this will be a nice place to relax!