The kindness of strangers

Laos travel stories. Members of the forum can post their trip reports here.
CarissaP
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The kindness of strangers

Postby CarissaP » Wed May 14, 2014 2:19 am

Have you ever had one of those days where looking back you realize how incredibly fortunate and stupid you were?

After Don Det, Ashley and I had decided to head towards the North of Laos. We made it to mainland (via a 2 hour boat ride) to Pakse and found our way to the bus station. We needed to stay there for the night as the next bus was in the morning, but that was fine.

We grabbed some food repacked our bags and set our three alarms to go off in the morning. Of course, this wouldn’t be a fun story if we woke up on time. So in the morning we, having woken up late, ran to the bus station and tried to communicate what we needed. I speak Spanish very well, and my traveling companion spoke Italian, but neither of us spoke any French… let alone Laotian. Normally English worked fine with tourism related things, but today we had someone who didn’t speak any!

Finally we figured out that we had missed our bus. It wasn’t entirely our fault, I guess the bus left early that day. However, being eager to help us, the employees spent some time talking to one another and finally shoved us in a taxi. As females traveling without males Ashley and I were leery, but we didn’t really have time to think much more about it.

After about 15 minutes the cab stops and the driver shouts at these two motorcyclists. Within moments we are shoved from the cab and basically sat on top of these motorcycles. The drivers took us to a very small gas station where they dropped us off and put us in the back of a truck. At this point I was saying my goodbyes. I prayed to God to let my family know that I loved them, and apologized for not going to church anymore. I thought about my friends back home I would never see again. I felt awful for not drinking gallons of water the night before to be sure I woke up on time. I am not sure how long I was in the truck, but in the end they stopped at a bus station.

Sure enough everyone had worked together to make sure that we had beat the bus we had missed. Looking back I feel bad for not tipping the motorcyclists or giving the taxi driver any money. I am not sure if they were receiving money from the first men I spoke to at the bus station, or if they were simply doing it out of the goodness in their hearts. Regardless, I am very grateful. You hear so many horror stories about people taking advantage of foreigners, but the good stuff still happens.
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My traveling companion and myself in Laos!
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OrigamiCrane
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Re: The kindness of strangers

Postby OrigamiCrane » Thu May 15, 2014 12:54 pm

That story could have turned out very differently! That's incredible that all of those people worked together to help you.

Hope to see more great stories from you. :)
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AngelaW
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Re: The kindness of strangers

Postby AngelaW » Thu May 15, 2014 2:06 pm

Amazing story and reassuring to know that there are so many nice people out there. I read somewhere that if you accidentally drop your wallet, Lao people will run after you to return it. I suppose this could change over time, as they get more used to tourists and Western lifestyle. Just look at how the people of Thailand have changed ;)
CarissaP
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Re: The kindness of strangers

Postby CarissaP » Sat May 17, 2014 9:03 pm

Very true! Looking back I feel very stupid that I allowed myself to be pushed from person to person, but in the end I am glad my faith in humanity pulled through and people cared enough to help me. The really cool part was, this wasn't a big deal. It wasn't as though we cried when we missed the bus. We weren't going to miss a flight. This wouldn't mess up future plans. It was just an inconvenience.

Nonetheless, the response was very heartwarming.

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