Another unsatisfactory experience with V.I.P. Bus lines, I booked a ticket from Don Det to Hue Vietnam with the assurance that it would one of their full sized coaches all the way (liar liar pants on fire).
After taking the ferry off the island find that the transport to Pakse is via 12 passenger van which had NO shocks & poor AC, would have taken the local pickup bus had I known, ride would have been smoother & cooler. Get dropped at the V.I.P. offices where after a good lunch at a restaurant just down the street am shuttled to the North Bus station for the bus to Vietnam which turns out to be NOT a V.I.P. bus but an old Hyundai operated by some fly by night Vietnamese outfit that is doubling as a cattle feed truck. Typical Asian seating with NO legroom with feed sacks under the seats & in the aisles, wouldn’t have minded so much had I not paid for 1st class.
So off we go 15 min early, for the 6 pm departure, only to stop just outside of town & sit on the side of the road for an hour, with no explanation, until finally a couple more people show up for the trip. Then some time around midnight, after a roadside pee break we stop & load another 50 or so 80 kg sacks of feed on the already fully loaded bus making for an entirely unsafe weight situation, first time in all my bus travels this has happened!
We arrive at the border, which opens at 07:00 at 03:30, guess they allow time for breakdowns. The really nice part of the night was the couple in the seat in front of me where the woman was one of those who can’t shut her mouth for 2 seconds & kept nattering all night with no care for those who wanted to sleep. So at 07:00 we get off the bus & walk across the border, normal procedure, where on the Vietnamese side there is a considerable line as 1/2 a dozen buses (even a real V.I.P. bus GRRRR!!) & the line jumpers come on in full force, just can’t wait in line but have to wait for everybody to be processed anyway???
Anyhoo 2 hrs later after the obligatory temperature check by the masked health dudes gotta keep that swine flu pandemic in check, customs finally clears the bus & we continue into Vietnam where after a couple hours with 3 stops for the army to check the buses cargo + 1 passport check & a stop to unload some feed the bus reaches it’s final destination at a gas station in some town but after a while the driver flags down a minibus that takes us into Hue another hour down the road.
Now the fun begins as before the bus is stopped a couple of morons are chasing it through the parking lot trying to get customers for their motorcycle taxi’s. Apparently these complete A$$holes have a monopoly on the bus lot so real taxi’s aren’t allowed in. To make a long story short they are too stupid to take NO for an answer & one even followed me onto the street & followed me until I managed to flag a real taxi.
Hotel only serves breakfast so had to go down the street for dinner, immediately upon exiting the hotel had 3 people after me wanting me to use their murdercycle taxi & after seeing how they drive one would have to be suicidal to ride on one, or rickshaw to go where they would get a kickback. In the 1/2 block to a restaurant there were at least 3 more of the same, then back at the hotel before I could get in the door a guy was trying to rent me a lady by the hour.
My first impressions of Vietnam & it’s people are that of a bunch of self-centered, disrespectful, money grabbing jerks! Life is too short for that BS & as 1st impressions are normally pretty close to the mark don’t think I will be spending much time here. Just have to see if I can bypass HCMC to get to Cambodia!