Saturday, September 10, 2011

On to Laos... Where in the World is Jayne(6)

I ended up the last e-mail with an 8 hour mini-van ride with one stop. Got up at 4:45 to catch the 5:30 bus to Laos. It left pretty much on time and at 7:30 we had traveled approximately 10 miles. We stopped to pick up people, deliver packages, have breakfast, get gas, change any Vietnamese money we had left into Lao Kip, and other reasons that never became clear. One time we were on a bridge for about 20 minutes. No one came, no one left. Again the scenery was gorgeous and once again I was glad it wasn't raining. This time there were big drop offs. It was a new road carved out of the mountain side and no vegetation growing to hold the soil. When I say new road don't think in terms of American roads. The Apache Trail is a super highway in comparison. Got to the Lao boarder and the first thing they did was take our temperatures. No sick people allowed in. I guess a carry over from the bird flu scare. Had never had that happen before at any boarder. The bus had to go through a couple of rivers. One time it was a big enough river that we all had to get out and walk over a foot bridge while the bus charged the river. Sure glad I wasn't in it. If it had been raining I'm not sure the bus would have been able to go. Have no idea what we would have done then. Finally we got to a big river and the bus stopped and unloaded our luggage. It was the end of the line. A little boat came over to take us across. Seemed like an awful little boat for such a big river but that opinion was before we encountered ferries on the Mekong in full flood. Caught a bus to Umodxai as the rains hit. We were now on a plateau so no problem. It was Nancys first encounter with local people loading anything and everything on the bus--unfortunately for the ambiance there were no live animals. She's rather used to it now.
Next day we took a mini van to Nang Khiwa. The trip was seventy kilometers (45 miles) and took 4 1/2 hours. The roads in Laos are not the best. There was a nice Italian guy on the bus that was very discussed with a Lao guy that kept spitting out the window. I kept thinking --he obviously never took a bus in China in the 80's--if he had he would have been used to it and also glad that he wasn't near an open window where it could come back in the bus. Two Lao kids got sick and threw up. Must be a normal thing because all seats come with barf bags. I was quite impressed with the father. He was the one that took care of it. Anyhow we are now in a lovely $5 a night reed hut looking out on to a lush garden by the Ox river.

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