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running away Traveling south east asia, china, australia, new zealand and america. wherever the mood takes me!

getting into laos

LAOS | Monday, 8 December 2008 | Views [871]

laos border

laos border

I was up early the next morning waiting for my bus. I was all excited, I was heading to Laos I could see the tour operator across the road that I was originally going to go with and all the people waiting there for their bus and I wondered if we would all be in the same one. A mini bus pulled up for them, and a few minutes later a different one arrived for me. So I guessed not.

There was two couples on the bus already and I took the space in the middle aisle between them. I was not surprised that no one had sit-in in it yet as there was barely any space for my legs. I ended up sitting sideways as my legs were hitting the back of the seats in front. Well I didn't think we would be in the bus for long and I had the row to myself, so I was too worried.

I should have been because that bus was to take us to a town close to the Laos border where we were to get the big bus to savannakhet in Laos On the way the bus stopped to pick up Vietnamese people and produce so at one stage I was crammed in my row with 4 other people where there was really only room for 2. funny thing was at one stage we saw a mini bus go by us even more packed than ours full of tourists. It was the mini bus from the tour operator that I saw earlier that day. I was thanking my lucky stars then that I didn't go with them. We all ended up at the same bus station were we were put on a big bus which was to bring us all the way. So all the people from other van and me and the 2 couples I was with were all put on it. Finally we were on our way.

The bus was really slow all day but the worst part was actually the border. It took 2 hours when it could have been so much faster. There were 2 big buses heading over the border and of course we all arrived at the same time. So we had to que to get stamped out of Vietnam and then we walked across the border and went to get our visa and get stamped into Laos It was crazy. I'm assuming that they had to do this everyday and you would think they would have a better system set up so it wouldn't take so long. But no. there is only one window to get your visa. So we had to que to get the papers to fill out. Now that they could give on the bus, no?

Then we had to fill it out. Then there were so many looking for it that they had a pile of applications. They then go individually and stick a visa in your passport and go through the form and and tell us how much we have to pay. its cheaper for Germans for some reason. We pay, then its passed to the guy beside him who fills out the visa and stamps it and then passes it back to us where we then have to bring it to the next window were we have to get it stamped to say we can come into the country.

I actually found out later that a Thai border crossing was better. There were no sticker visa just a stamp, which would be so much faster. Why aren't they doing that at the Lao bao crossing?

But all we could do was laugh at the disorganization of it all. We got to savannakhet after sunset and I found a guesthouse with a dutch couple I met on the bus. We ended up heading to dinner together which was nice and just hung out. They were heading north the next morning, quite early, so I didn't see them again.

But the next day I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I was trying to decided if I had enough time to go south. I was wondering around in the morning going on the internet and at the last minute I decided if there was still a bus heading south that day I would take it. I asked at my guesthouse and I was told the last bus left in a less than an hour. So I quickly packed, checked out and got a tuk tuk to the station. I was in plenty of time and I even had time to sit down and get a drink. There happen to be a little group near me and I wondered if they were heading south to paske also. It turned out that they were, they were two German guys and a girl from Norway. They ended up being really nice people and I even ended up sitting beside one of the German guys on the journey down.

We got talking and found out his name was mirko and that he was going to be a doctor and still had to a couple years in the hospital before he decided what he was going to specialize in. but he wanted to go to an English speaking country to improve his English and I said he should go to Ireland. I even invited him to stay at home in galway and I would show him around. He got really excited about it and said he would definitely check it out and come over next autumn when i was back from travelling. I said that was no problem. It would be great.

When we arrived to paske we all got a tuk tuk together to the guesthouse we wanted to stay in. but it ended up being full. So we walked to the next guesthouse that ended up being quite expensive. I ended up sharing a room with mirko so it turned out to be cheaper. And the next morning we all went to the guesthouse from the previous day and were able to check in. I got a dorm room cheap and cheerful and they ended up sharing a room for them. I spent the day with them and we just hung out. We went for breakfast and then moved our bags over from the last guesthouse and we were going to go and see a wat but It ended up being up late. So we walked along the river and went into the wat that was in the town. It was really nice. The temple had loads of paintings on the wall depicting different scenes. I'm guess from Buddhas story. What does Buddha have. We have the bible, do Buddhism have something similar?

And mirko ended up talking way to a monk for awhile. We then split after that with marie going for a massage, me calling home and the lads went to find postcards and we met up later for dinner. That was pretty much paske very quiet and sedate. We noticed that the guesthouses seem to close at half 11 so there seemed to be some kind of curfew in place and especially in paske. The roads were dead, and no one out and about like at 10 O. clock. It felt like it was after 2 in the morning not 10 in the evening. But it was a chill place to hang out. I met a girl from Melbourne in the dorm room with me and she was heading to the 4 thousand islands the next. I had decided to head the next day too. I had to be up north for the gibbon experience that I had booked online for the 15th of December and I had calculated I had 2 nights to spend on don det the island. The guys I was hanging out with were heading on a trek and I had to choose either the islands or trekking. I was doing the gibbon experience so I could trek there. So I went south while Fabian, Marie and mirko went walking.

Tags: lao bao, paske

 

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