One of the longest and most painful ride yet
Trip Start Dec 11, 2011
6Trip End Jan 14, 2012
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After 9hours, we were finally at Dien Bien Phu. By the time we got there, it was already night time. All the buses were not working anymore. Our first priority was to secure an accomodation. The whole town looked really shady as it was dark. The street was lit poorly, there were very little automobiles on the streets, shops were closed, people sitting outside their stores looked at us when we walked by and it wasn't the cleanest place we've been. We found a place to stay for rather cheap. Took a nice warm shower and headed out for supper and restocked for our early morning journey to Laos.
We were told that the bus left at 5.30am so we woke up at 4.30 to try to catch the bus. When we got there, we waited for another 2 hours before we headed out to Laos. The bus driver (not speaking any language) pointed to us 7 which we thought was how long it took to get there. The entire minivan was packed. Most of the luggage and load were on the roof, some were under the seat. I could barely seat properly as the seats were made for short people and I'm not that tall. Joining us were 4 other Americans. I can't even imagine how they felt.
After crossing the border, the road to Laos were largely undeveloped. The van jerked and bumped at every minor crack or uneven-ness on the ground. The bus driver was also blasting local disco music, which gave all if not most of us migraines. It was like the music scene was stuck in the 70s coupled with screechy-voiced singers. It was horrifying. Sorry Vietnam. The only thing that was absolutely consoling to me, was the view. Laos was largely more magnificent than Vietnam. It's was as if the entire place was untouched. The mountains were gorgeous and towering, the trees were the greenest I've seen and there were birds flying everywhere. It's was amazing.
After another 9 hours of ass-cracking, head-throbbing mini-van ride, we had finally got to Udomxay bus station, the van's final location. In an hour's time, the bus to Luang Prabang was leaving. We quickly bought the tickets and tried to find food and money exchange.
Half-way there, we stopped for dinner in a village. This open-air restaurant had heaps and heaps of produce and snacks, it was like a market. My gastronomic curious senses started tingling. I started smelling everything; the fruits smelled fresh off the trees/ground, the chili and spices smelled fantastic and spicy and the food that they were making completed it. What really caught my senses was the chili. I love chili. Sometimes i can't eat anything without it, like rice. This chili was freshly made. I ate it with the meal we had that night. It was delicious and adequately spicy. Loved it. Later on, when the bus driver was gathering us back, we looked over the next table where some young locals were eating and got curious. They had buffalo meat and meal worms along with some sticky rice. They invited us to try some! Of course, I was the first one to jump into it. I promised myself that I was going to try everything and anything that these countries had to offer me, no exceptions. I was rather skeptical about it but it was rather tasty especially with the sticky rice and CHILI. I was proud of myself.