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Leaving Lao

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

ll.jpgThe trip out of Lao was an adventure – sort of the type that was fun in an uncomfortable way that makes great stories later.

I got up early to buy a ticket as I figured it might sell out – so far, so good. But when I returned to board a few hours later, all the seats were taken and the floor space was filled with cargo.

No problem, I just sat on the bags and crates stacked in the main aisle and had the best seat in the house – I was even able to stretch out completely! There were only a half-dozen falaang on the bus and we were all in the back. I chatted most of the way with a retired teacher from Oz and with this free-lance art-critic from Paris. The hours were absorbed by some good conversation.

The bus broke down 3 times, and we all had to get out and push 2 other times. Several other times we had to just get out and walk because of how steep the road was.

The Chinese and Thai governments have joined together to cut a road through this part of Lao as a direct link between the other two and it is still in the cutting in stage – mud and bulldozers and dust and such.

There seems to be no concern for the hill tribe people as it cuts through villages that were not on the road system. It’s the end of the world as they know it.