The real backpacking experience has begun! After almost 23 hours on the most crazy sleeper bus ride to Vientiane we made it. The whole journey there started at 6pm when we left Hanoi and got in at 5pm in Laos. I sat in the second to worst seat in the entire bus. Jenn and I originally sat in the front right in a nice two seater since I wanted to sit up close. But since the bus drivers knew we were foreigners they made us move and get in the very back. And as I was walking to the front of the bus I realized that it was all vietnamese people in the front of the bus and the foreigners in the back! Damn, felt very weird to have that separation. I laid between between 4 other people and was right in the middle. The funny part was Jenn had the same exact seat below me except hers was like a cave! I felt brain dead on the ride it was either sleep or look our the windows or play scenarios in my head. It was crazy when we pulled over for a bathroom break the workers on the bus would bring more boxes on or “soil” to bring into Laos. (By that I knew they were sneaking items across the border and using the tourist bus as a way of doing it) When we finally got into Vientiane we sat next to an old lady on the bus that knew was from Laos but also knew Vietnamese and she talked to Jenn and helped get a group of us girls safely to the hostel! Hospitality from strangers keeps me going.
e talked to 2 girls from Norway and two girls from England and decided to share a room with the girls from Norway! We then met up with the 2 english girls for dinner. We walked down a street where a little market was going on and we checked it out! Hard to go to markets sometimes when you have zero room in your backpack to buy anything. We ate some random street food that looked good and afterwards just walked around until we stumbled upon this amazing local bar where we drank, laughed and had an overall great night! It was live music and it was full of locals and I think we were the only foreigners in the place! During one of the performances Jenn decided to stand up and walk over to the singer and sit next to him and she started swaying her arms. It was so funny and of course I had to jump up and go join her! Then the rest of the girls in our group did and it was a moment of pure happiness. Embracing ourselves into environments of the unknown and turning them into lasting memories.
We had to get a tuk tuk back to our hostel after getting lost on the way back home. From there we realized we were EXTREMELY close to our hostel...fail.. The next day we had breakfast at our hostel and then took a tuk-tuk to the went to the COPE Visitor Center which is a rehabilitation place for people that have gotten injured from all the bombs U.S dropped in Laos during the Vietnam War. We had our first Laos Ice Coffee and just took in the place. I am so glad we went. It was a lot of information I never knew about. Afterwards we saw Morgan a guy we drank with in Hanoi! He helped us get a bus ticket for that night to Laung Prabang. So glad we are already running into other travels we know. Really shows we all just do the same path but at different times. Crazy.
After we got our bus tickets we met up with the 2 english girls Harriet and Jennifer whom we were hanging out with last night and got to have dinner again before we were off on another bus ride! They are going to Luang Prabang in the next following day or two so I am sure we will see them there again soon! After leaving at 8pm on the bus we arrived at 6am to Luang Prabang. After arriving we took a tuktuk into the city center and walked from hotel to hotel trying to find a cheap room for rent. We found one for $10 a night and it was perfectly right next to the river. We took a 4 hour nap and woke up around noon to start the day!
Through my travels the only two pieces of technology I brought were my cell phone and my camera. I kept a small blue journal with me throughout the whole trip to document when times were quiet. I suggest everyone that travels to bring a Journal and Pencil.