Day 29: Bye Bye Pai

At half past seven in the morning, I was awoken by my stomach, which, for some reason, was cramping on me. As I got out of bed, it turned out I was sick again. After visiting my porcelain pal, I returned to bed, however, within half an hour, I was paying him aanother visit. This continued one more time that morning, before Sarah decided to wake up. It turned out, I had probably caught a mild case of food poisoning, most likely from the fried rice I had the previous evening, as there were some hard uncooked pieces within it. This would also explain why I felt queasy the previous night. I didn’t bother going to breakfast with Sarah, Duncan and Suzy that morning, as I wanted to rest up ready for our long bus journey later that day. Instead, Sarah went, then, returned around midday with some snacks and medicine. By this point Suzy had left for her next destination, but, told Sarah to wish me well.

Luckily, by this point, I was feeling better, probably because of all the sleep I had that morning. I took a couple of tablets, as a preemptive strike against any stomach bugs that may attempt to attack me on the bus. Before we left the room, our northern friend, Josh, stopped by to give me some tablets, as, he also had a similar problem the previous day. In exchange for his kindness, I gave him a large bottle of beer, as I no longer had a purpose for it. We stayed at the hostel for another hour, during which time we settled our bill. The co-owner, Peter, offered to take us to the Aya service for our minibus, to which we were very grateful, as this meant we didn’t have to carry our bags there. We arrived with enough time to spare, so, Sarah and Duncan, went to the local seven eleven to grab some snacks for the trip, while I stayed with the luggage.

The minibus arrived on time, and would be taking us to Chiang Mai first, where we’d switch buses for Loas. All three of us were able to get seats, however, Sarah and I, ended up on the seats at the back. This was bad news, as it meant every corner, of the seven hundred there were, would be made ten times worse. Sarah attempted to read her kindle, while I, attempted to work on my blog, neither of us achieved these goals due to motion sickness, even after taking tablets to prevent this. After an hour of driving, we stopped for fifteen minutes, to allow people a bathroom break, and refreshments at a roadside restaurant. When the time was up, we clambered back into the minibus, where we drove for a good two hours more. For the rest of the ride, I listened to music, admiring the beautiful scenery we passed along the way. Around six o’clock that evening, we arrived at the Aya service in Chiang Mai. Here, we had to wait for our next bus to take us to Laos, so, while we waited, we grabbed some food. The next bus showed up at quarter to eight, however, instead of a nice big coach, (which we were hoping and praying for) a minibus pulled up in it’s place.

We climbed aboard and chose our seats, this leg of the journey was not going to be fun, as we would be seated for the next ten hours (with the exception of the occasional fuel stops). It was dark outside by this point, so, all of the passengers chose to sleep, all, except me. I used this time productively, to work on my blog, as I was a few days behind. I couldn’t get comfortable enough on the minibus to sleep, and didn’t take any sleeping pills like others did, so instead, I worked through the night, typing up post after post, until, before I knew it, the sun was rising and it was six a.m. We soon arrived at the immigration office, where we were given coffee, and told to fill out visa forms. It was funny to see all the bleary eyed people waking up, as by this point, I still hadn’t been tired enough to sleep. We filled out the forms, then hopped back on our minibus for another ten minute journey. On this drive, we crossed the Thailand, Laos friendship bridge, and, eventually arrived at the border. Here, we handed over our forms, along with thirty five dollars for our visas, then, walked with our bags across the borderline to Laos.

The whole group from the minibus, had to wait for another ride to a coach, which would take us the rest of the way to Vang Vieng. We stood there for five minutes, when all of a sudden, a little red tuktuk pulled up. I jokingly said to Sarah, “oh, look, our ride is here,” turned out, that was actually it. The group all squeezed in for a twenty minute journey to another vehicle, which we thought would take us the rest of the way. It transpired, this wasn’t our final lift, instead, this larger minibus, took us to a nice big coach with air conditioning, where, we were finally taken on a five hour journey to our last stop… Vang Vieng.

When we arrived at Vang Vieng, we appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. At least, that was the way it seemed, as I had been asleep for the majority of the coach journey, and was just coming back to reality. It was here, that we spoke with a male passenger of another coach, that had put all of his belongings together underneath the coach, and, had his money stolen from one of his two bags. A general rule of thumb when it comes to travelling, never let a bag, containing your prized possessions (e.g laptop, money, passport), leave your site. Especially, don’t put it under the bus you’re travelling on, keep it with you, as more often than not, it will end up stolen. Soon after, we hopped on a tuktuk, which drove us closer to the area we were staying.

Here, I withdrew some money, a million Kip to be exact (that’s right, for the first time ever, I was a millionaire). Duncan, Sarah and I, as well as three American girls, then hired another tuktuk, to take us to the resort we’d be staying at, where we’d rendezvous with Brandon and the guys. Upon arrival, it was one o’clock in the afternoon, we went to the reception of our new hotel, where we were given a room. We climbed the stairs of the beautiful resort, and dropped our bags off in the room, and seeing as we had each slept on the various buses at some point, decided to skip resting up, and, go find the guys.

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