Published: February 27th 2008February 13th 2008
The bus from Vientiane to Vinh turned out to be a nightmare. When we got to the bus it was crammed with people. There were no seat numbers on our tickets and the seats filled up according to the laws of the jungle. We got the last seats. Anna thought she was lucky to get a seat in the middle of the backseat so she could have a lot of space for her legs, but no, in the last minute a tiny Asian guy was shown to the backseat to share the seat with her! Not very comfortable, since that meant that she was sitting between to seats and had a stick poking up her ass. Helena got her own seat, but the bus wasn't designed for "tall" westerners, so the space between the seats wasn't enough for her slender legs. The people arriving after us had to sit on plastic seats in the corridor or lie on the floor. An old man in the backseat was throwing up into a plastic bag after which he wiped his mouth in the curtain.
After our first stop to a place where there was no food to buy Anna got really stressed
At the busstation
Before the hell starts
because we hadn't had any dinner and only had two baguettes with us. When we got back to the bus Helena discovered that her inflatable pillow and her drinks had disappeared. After asking around for a while the pillow was discovered from her neighbour and the drinks were found a couple of seats ahead in the lap of an older lady, we reckon she must have been really thirsty...
The bus ride was bumpy and incredibly uncomfortable. Helena however managed to sleep, but then again she can sleep almost anywhere... Anna's two neighbours were using her as a pillow, so she didn't get any sleep. At 1 am we stopped close to the border to find out that the border was closed and wouldn't open until 6 am. We got ourselves a room with the most pathetic, tiny pillows and an extremely hard bed. Before we got out of the bus they had collected all our passports and we were convinced we would wake up and find the bus gone along with our passports. Despite all we slept well for about 3 hours and then got up to continue the bus ride to the border. When we got back
to the bus Helenas pillow was stolen for the second time never to be seen again.
When we got out of the bus at the border it was fucking freezing and the mist was so thick you couldn't see more than 5 meters ahead. We went to the Lao border to check out and were surprised to find out that working at the border is probably the most relaxed job you can find. We waited around for half an hour until we finally got our passports. No one knew where to go next and an official pointed us to go somewhere into the thick mist where there seemed to be absolutely nothing. We started our walk together into nowhere. We had never been so cold before and the walk to the Vietnamese border seemed to take forever. When we think back it might have been only 100 meters away...
At the Vietnamese check point we had to wait. Again. There seemed to be some kind of activity behind the desk, but nothing was happening. Anna had some trouble with her stomach again and needed a toilet really badly. She tried to ask for one and a man in
Close to the border
Instant noodle soup, our dinner
a uniform pointed somewhere out into the mist. She walked out into nowhere, cold and lonely and found what she needed. That was the only good thing that morning.
A Vietnamese guy said that people in Vietnam don't work before 8 am. So we waited and waited. Apparently 8 am means 9 am in Vietnam so we waited even more. When we finally got our passports back we had to pay the official 1 USD. Is that considered bribing?
Before the bus could leave a serious customs officer had to check the luggage. He opened the door to the luggage space and pointed around with his flash light. A very thorough inspection. After this we finally got back into the bus and continued our journey.
A couple of kilometers before our final destination the bus stopped for an hour so that people could have breakfast. Sadly we couldn't find anything eatable and besides we didn't have any Vietnamese currency either. When we finally got to Vinh, we had traveled for about 18 hours of which Anna had slept 3 hours and Helena a bit more. We had eaten one baguette, an instant noodle soup and a couple
of cookies. We hadn't had had a shower in 30 hours and we felt horrible. We thought it couldn't get any worse, but this was only the beginning!
To be continued...
There are more photos below