Thursday, 10 March 2016

21 hours on a bus

Currently still in Thailand, 6 hours into our journey. It sounded a bit horrific to start with, but it's really not had. About 9.30 a minibus style van came to pick us up. It was empty and luckily as the first one we got the front row, the seats of which have feet rests which are lucky. It quickly filled up, and I think there are 14 of us. We set off, and after an hour or so made our first stop at a market which had some toilets. The others did not report good feedback; one of them had to use the kind of 'hole in the ground' loos which is not worth the 10p it cost to use them. We stopped again about half an hour later, this time at a boutique resort. We made the mistake of changing all of our remaining Thai baht to Laos currency, but as we'd already got provisions for the journey this may be a blessing to our budgets, and we spent the half an hour wait dipping our feet in the infinity pool and lying briefly in a hammock.




Onwards we went. It was now approaching midday, and we were gently napping when the person behind us decided to have a small tantrum to the driver about the air conditioning. Beyond awkward; she was shouting 'this is not good enough' while he explained it was at the fullest. I was ready to contribute 'you're in a hot country in summer at midday you absolute twat' when she piped down, focusing her rant on people around her instead.Fortunately she was getting off at the next stop otherwise we may have abandoned her on the road.

The next stop was amazing; this massive white temple which almost looked like an ice palace in a fairytale. We couldn't pay to go in, but i did find 10 baht (20p) which I used to buy some pineapple- important to prevent scurvy right? And we continued on our way, only pausing to drop off the angry European at a bus station. It's currently 3.30, the others are asleep and i had been getting annoyed at my inability to sleep when I did in fact wake up- bit of a confusing moment to be honest. The driving here's a bit questionable but no deaths thus far.


Okay it's now the next morning, after possibly the weirdest night of my life (definitely in the top 10). We got various buses to the Laos border, obtained visas for $36, paid for a shuttle bus etc and continued on our way.

We arrived at a big bus station and at 6 boarded the night bus. We clambered aboard and claimed 3 beds at the back- lol, we were so naive. Within minutes a women appeared, clearly we were in her seat. With closer inspection at our tickets, written in either Thai or Laos dialect, we realised we did in fact have assigned seats. 15, 16 and.. 6. After a bit of confusion we realised that 15 and 16 were the same bed, meaning that lauren was in fact sharing the tiny bed space with a stranger. By some miracle on the crowded bus it was a nice Canadian girl, around our age, who we'd met earlier, and though across the bus from us we could wave to lauren and chat occasionally.

The journey was just bizarre. The bus filled up with about 10 people left bedless- they accumulated at the back and down the centre aisle, spilling into the beds on either side with their limbs. We assumed they wouldn't be staying on for the full 13 hours, but they were. Very weird.

Around 2 hours in I found myself beyond desperate for a wee. I started to think my kidneys were going to explode or something, and with the prospect of 11 hours on the road I set out decanting water into different bottles in preparation for having to wee into one- the stress was real. Fortunately an angel of a person must have been in the same situation as she made her way to the front over the various bodies in the aisle and we promptly stopped, the driver shouting 'toilet'. I participated in a communal squat at the side of the road with a group of strangers, not my finest moment but hey.

We stopped several times between 8 and midnight, dropping people off etc, but after that we did all pretty much manage to sleep. Given the peculiar arrangement and undoubtedly dangerous set up, it was very comfy to be honest. We had a pillow and blanket, and it was very bizarre but not too unpleasant. We got a decent night sleep. We arrived at a bus station at 6am, possibly 5am local time, we're yet to find out, and got a tuk tuk into the centre with some others from the bus. After withdrawing some cash we're currently in a very nice fancy café where we had breakfast and used the wifi to find a hostel which we're going to investigate in a sec. I'm very excited to have a shower

Laura x

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