Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bus Karma

We were sitting having a relaxed breaky at the same river-side place that we had eaten at the night before since there was no one around at the 'café' at our guesthouse. From our veranda seats we could see down to the boat dock and noticed that there were 8 people waiting for the boat downstream, which meant that with us there’d be 10, which also meant that we would be able to afford it. However, the ticket guy refused to budge from 200K pp even though the price should’ve been 120K with 10 of us, and for us this meant we couldn't take the boat as we didn’t have enough cash. So despite our hope we were back onto bus option.

After breakfast we collected our bags and a local lady kindly pointed out a tuk tuk on its way to the bus station which was 3km out of town, we’d read that these were few and far between so we were grateful not to have to walk there. When we arrived there were already some other tourists waiting, three nice Germans in fact, who’d also come from Sapa but who had made the journey the day after us. They had had two clear runs so the first trip only took them 8 hours, not 12, and the 2nd trip only 5 hours, not 8.5…. we decided that it must be simply down to bus karma, something of which we were obviously lacking. Fortunately, the Germans clearly had it, as for this trip we scored a comfy bus and arrived in Udomxai in only 2.5 hours instead of 3 – nice one. We hoped some of their karma would rub off on us for future trips…

Our first task once in town was to find an ATM as our cash was almost down to zero, not a comfortable situation to be in - especially as it was the weekend. By the time we found on ATM, a guesthouse and checked in it was way past lunch so we decided that we might as well just stroll around till dinner time. However, we chanced upon some fresh spring rolls and couldn't resist so we enjoyed them with our first taste of Dark Beer Laos, even better than the standard! This tided us over whilst we explored the stupa and Buddha statue, the local markets and the rest of town. 

Buddha and stupa overlooking the vallet
We found a place a soon as we judged it to be dinner time and enjoyed our first la'ap salads – they were delicious, although very spicy and we searched in vain for ice cream afterwards to cool our mouths down. No luck, so instead we settled for a soothing yoghurt. 

We decided on a quiet night as there wasn't much to the town and the next day was going to be our fourth bus trip in four days, and to say we were over them would be quite the understatement…

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