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.
- My traveling companion and myself in Laos!
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