Today ( Friday, Dec 23) was a very busy day. We woke up at 6AM (yay!), had breakfast and then proceeded to spend 11 hours on a bus.
Well, not really. But almost.
The bus was supposed to pick us up between 7 and 7:30. At 7:45 we were still in the hotel lobby getting just a tiny bit impatient. Well, I was extremely impatient while Andreas was watching YouTube and being the usual monument to calmness that he is. So, together, we were a tiny bit impatient.
Turns out the bus wouldn’t pick us up directly, but we would be driven in a sort of large tuk-tuk/pick-up to the northern bus station about 30min outside Vientiane (exhibit A)
Since the driver was super late to pick us up – we were supposed to leave the northern station at 8 AM but the vehicle of death arrived only around 7:50- he drove us in a bit of mad frenzy through packed and traffic-heavy roads. It was very dusty in the back of this monstrosity and we were thrown around and shaken and stirred to perfection. We would have made a great cocktail.
Somehow we made it to the station, had our luggage loaded and got on the actual bus (exhibit B)
What can I say? It used to be a pretty good bus probably around 1998. Today it’s worn and torn at every corner and just a bit smelly. The pink curtains were disintegrating ever so slightly each time I moved them across the water and dirt-specked window (exhibit C)
After a 30 minute wait we drove off. And we drove. And drove. And drove. And the road got more sinuous and winding and bumpy the further up north we got. We made a few stops for so-called bio breaks at designated facilities. It wasn’t pleasant. But, I got to see a pig and it’s piglet and that made everything better (exhibit D)
And then we drove some more. The day seemed endless and the road got worse and worse. The last 20km took more than one hour.
When we finally arrived, it was long past 7PM and we were so happy to be able to walk that we walked all the way to our hotel. Those were the best 30 minutes of the day thus far.
The day was saved by the wonderful hotel we are staying at . The Sanakeo Boutique Hotel is off the beaten track, very new and beautifully decorated, quiet and modern, and has a spa! I will post fotos another time. And to make things even better, we stopped by the Manda de Laos restaurant for a quick snack. This place is a gem: all dining tables are arranged around a beautiful pond, the food is brilliant and the decor and lighting are set up to perfection (exhibit E)
So all in all it was a pretty good day.