Sing to the tune of “Slipping Through My Fingers” by ABBA.
~Passport in hand, she leaves Thailand in the afternoon, saying goodbye, with an limp and with a sling~
Woo, woo, eighth country here I go! I am excited for two reasons primarily. First – I am meeting my friend Andrea who I met in Cambodia. Solo traveler no longer! Plus, she is a nurse and I want her to confirm my lack of infection of my knee (spoiler: no infection, I am ready to receive my nurse degree, but she did gasp and said it looked like ‘meat’ when she saw it). Second – everyone, and I mean everyone, you meet who has been to Laos always says it is their favorite country. Grabbing my 14 hour night bus to Luang Prabang from Chiang Rai, I was ready to go, limp and all.
The bus was pretty nice, we all had our own seat pair, and they passed out chocolate (I am easy to please). I knew regardless of the bus it was going to suck as I couldn’t really bend my knee yet. After a few hours we reached the Thai border. We got off the bus, stamped our passports, and were back on board. We crossed the friendship bridge to the Laos border and filed off again. I had forgotten my debit card to take out money and didn’t want to exchange dollars for lao kip at the border because the rate sucks. When I tried to pay for the visa he didn’t accept my $20 because there was a pen mark on it. Cue five minutes of me emptying all my pockets and having to pay in a combination of thai baht and USD because no one would exchange my $20. Hello, now I am completely broke haha.
After this minor setback we all got back on the bus and rode until about 9pm, when we stopped for dinner. I was freaking STARVING at this point and I scarfed down a bowl of noodles. Adding to my hunger frustration, a lao woman we picked up at the border had been loudly talking on her phone for two hours until an argentine finally yelled at her (I called them my hero after the fact). Luckily, the lao woman got off at the town and we rode until Luang Prabang with no background music. I got little to no sleep but ah well. We arrived at LP at 6 in the morning and shared a tuk tuk to town. There were four argentines on the bus (I can not escape the argentines haha) and we had coffee before parting ways for our hostels. Because we were there so early we also got to see the feeding of the monks, a procession where locals line up to give rice offerings to monks in the area. Very cool.
Laos is wonderful, I am relaxed and happy, although maybe slightly constipated.