When you only have about a week to spare and you are in Bangkok, go to Laos. The travel is pretty simple. Air Asia flys into almost everywhere from Bangkok, and where it does not fly to, you can bus to. I am not going to say it is going to be the most comfortable ride ever, but you will get there. I did it. And I loved every minute of my journey. From Bangkok, I took an Air Asia flight to Udon Thani in Thailand. From the airport, I found a bus that would take me to the Thai-Lao Friendsip Bridge, where I could get my short-stay visa. After exiting immigration, into Laos, it gets funny. Every taxi cab driver asking to take you where you would like to go, because from the immigration terminal, the bus terminal is a bit of a ways. So, chatter chatter chatter, you look safe, sounds great. Though I forget my taxi cab drivers name, our short 20 minute journey is unforgettable. So, I get into the back of his cab, old leather blue seats, ceiling carpet pinned to the roof, no radio, oh and it is a mercades.. an old mercades, the kind where there is no entry point to the front from the back.
So, we drive, we chat, I play bob marley for us, asking him if he knows the artist- he doesn’t. We giggle at the fact that we do not fully understand each other. And then it happens. Screeeeeechhhhhhhhhhhhhh, boom, ouch. Someone just slammed into the back of us and I cannot get out of the car.
How did this happen? Well, this cute little woman on a moped, tried to park her bike on the sidewalk and she didn’t settle it down before walking away. So, as she steps away to purchase her coffee, she sees in the back of her eyes that her bike is falling into the street. She bends down to pick it up, not looking at what is coming (possible decapitation), so we break. HARD. Slam, boom, I am stuck in the back of a wrecked vehicle. My poor taxi driver gets out, yells at the woman, yells at the man who just hit his sole source of income, and then thinks- and helps me out the car, over the front seat and out (for my door is jammed). I get out, thinking, what the heck is going to happen now? I needed to catch the next bus to get to Vang Vieng on time, and now where am I? Then I hear voices behind me inside the coffee shop. So, I go in and I wait. I buy a beer and wait. An hour later, after paying the taxi half his money, he calls a friend of his to come pick me up and drop me off at the bus station. Thankfully. And with no physical damage done to anyone, my new bob marley fan of a friend is left waving to sort out his own problem. Yikes.
But, I think, I want to get to Vang Vieng. I have hostel reservations and am supposed to meet up with my friend Michael. He will worry if not. So, to the bus station I go. I arrive pretty late, Michael is no where in site. So, I find wifi and facebook him. You can find me at “——–“, with a beer and some food. Hours later he shows, whew. And we begin to explore Laos, chat by chat, through mosquitos, new Lao friends, new British friends, watching screwed up tourists with hurt faces from falling, and little by little capturing the fact that Vang Vieng is not the real Laos. It is party tourist Laos. But, being there with no time to travel else where, we took it for what is was and sought to find the trueness of where we were: somewhere between lost and found.