Friday, May 15, 2009

So tired....

VIENTIANE, Laos - We are sitting in the restaurant of our hotel waiting for the people who are currently in "our" room to checkout so that it can be cleaned and we can check in.

We took the overnight bus from Pakse to Vientiane a 10 hour trip.  We were "lucky" enough to have booked a "sleeping" bus for this trip.  

Our worst travel experience to date was the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue.  Neither of us are really fans of overnight trips as we don't sleep that well when traveling overnight and last night was no exception.

Walking around Pakse we saw the sleeping bus in a parking lot near our hotel and were quite impressed by it.  It looked very clean,  the pillows looked nice, and it even had a fullsize bathroom (i.e. the door was normal sized not 4 feet high like our bus from Siem  Reap to Phnom Penh)

Anyhow we walked back the next day to book the bus for the following night but the guy in front of us in the queue was taking forever so being to impatient to wait we just decided to walk over to a travel agent to book the bus instead.  

That was a mistake!  When we were dropped of at the bus station the next night there were a bunch of travelers waiting to get on a bus only they weren't getting on our bus they were getting on a nice looking bus parked next to ours!

The tuk tuk that had picked us up at our hotel along with 2 other backpackers had already unloaded our luggage from the top rack into the hold of the bus before we could get out, at least we hoped our luggage was on the bus.

Our bus once again turned out to be completely populated with locals with the exception of two french girls that were backpacking.  We stepped on board and our hearts sank, the bus we were on was nowhere near as nice as the one we had seen the day before and in fact it looked nothing like the other bus which had had cubbyholes and double beds that would sit up like a chaise lounge and curtains for privacy.

Once we had stepped over all the flip flops in the aisle and hopped up to our "bunk" we knew we were in trouble.  The bed measured probably 3' x 5' and was designed for two?  Also the 5' was a bit generous as at about 3 feet we had a rack over the top of the bed for our day packs and from 4 to 5 feet the bed in front sloped downward on an angle such that it was impossible to even lay on your back.  All you could do was lie on your side and wedge your feet under the bed in front!

The mattress was also flat, there was no adjusting the sitting position all you could do was lean your pillow against the luggage rack behind you to sit up.  So we did just that and sat up for the first two hours watching some tv shows on our laptop.  The rest of the bus was completely dark and after two hours we put away the laptop, turned on the ipods and attempted to get to sleep.

Neither one of us could get comfortable and we basically spent the whole night just lying there listening to our Ipod's.  The time actually went fairly quickly and we only made one stop the whole night.

Ten hours later we were in the Lao capital of Vientiane and in a Tuk Tuk headed to our hotel.  Unfortunately we were at our hotel before 7am and the current occupants of our room didn't check out until 12 pm so we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant (very good!), walked around for a couple of hours and then napped on the sofa in the restaurant before finally about 1230 pm we were able to check into our room!

So here we sit in our room trying to stay awake (its 4pm) until a decent hour.  I think tonight we'll just go next door to the hotel restaurant as the food is very good and we are too lazy to head out anywhere.

On Monday we need to head to the Thai Consulate to get a 30 day visa for Thailand as the Thai's in their infinite wisdom have decided to only hand out 15 day visas at the border instead of the usual 30 day visas that until recently they had always granted.  Fifteen days isn't much time to see a country as large as Thailand!

Off to happy hour, some food and then some sleep!


Unknown said...

This is sounding more and more like a backpacking trip as opposed to a "flashpacking" trip... :)

Stacy said...

Tell me about it! Of course when we told a French girl we paid $10/night for a bungalow on the 4000 islands she couldn't believe how expensive that was. LOL! So maybe we are still flashpackers