Well,…….. VIP buses have a tv, dvd player, toilet, air con and seats that recline. They also get you there quicker! All this is great in theory, but rarely works out to be any better.
However, i can’t moan too much, at least this time i had a seat! ) We boarded our bus reclined our seats a little and even set off early. All was looking good, climbing up into the mountains seat reclined air con on. As soon as i started to relax the air con broke. I could handle that though for now as it was still really early and it wasn’t too hot. Then a turkish guy went to the bathroom and didnt leave for the rest of the journey (thats not even an exageration).
So… air con and toilet out of action what else could go wrong? A few hours down the road and they decided to put the tv on. Great i’m thinking, something to pass the bordem. No not really when it is Laos kareoke videos. A couple of songs in the cd went funny and we lost the picture and then the sound. I was kind of glad of the peace though. 5 minutes later the bus starts filling with smoke, the bus was on fire somewhere and it didnt smell good. Everyone started to pile off the bus and for some reason we were still sat on it laughing and joking saying how the bus obviously didnt like the kareoke either and so mashed the cd and then set it on fire. What was funny was when i saw him pull out a few wires chuck them on the side of the road and then get back on the coach. Turns out that what we had been joking about was what had happened. The bit that controls the tv/dvd player had set on fire. hilarious! Bloody asian kareoke.
A few hours later it was getting really hot and sweaty on the coach and there was some nasty smells coming from the turkish guy in the toilet. The bus then slows down to a halt and everyone gets off again. What was wrong this time. Suddenly one little guy gets under the bus with a jack, while another gets some small rocks to put in front of the tires. Next minute they are pulling the back wheels of the bus to change one of them. We’d been going for hours and we still weren’t half way there. They changed the wheel in record time though and we were soon back on the bus now heading out of the mountains. By changing the wheel it somehow seemed to make the air con start working again for a little while but it soon broke again.
The rest of the journey was pretty normal really, oh apart from there was a guy sat on the bus with a f**king great big rifle hidden under his coat. He was there for our security apparently!?!?!? After 9hours we finally arrived in Vientane.
So what is the difference between a VIP bus and a local bus…. well absolutely nothing of importance. they break more, have turkish guys stinking out the toilets, guys with rifles the best pit crew in Laos and take the same length of time. Yet another eventful journey in Laos.
After chilling out for the evening in a bar in Vientane, Al and I stumbled into our hostel and slept for a couple of hours before waking up at 4:30am to get to the airport. Al woke me and said ” Dave, time to get up mate “.. i apparently just said “why?” in a really confused way and when Al explained to me that we had to catch a plane it still took a while to register. Next thing we’re at the airport being walked out onto the runway to get on our plane. Oh, on the way we took a lot of pictures of our shadows… this seemed to entertain us at 5am when we were probably still under the influence.
The plane was a pretty old looking twin prop one, the seats were really hard and you hardly got any kind of safety talk. We were soon rattling along the runway and we we’re off. The pilot then came on the radio and informed us that we would be stopping off in Pakse in the south of Laos. We didnt really understand why. Landing in Pakse everyone got off the plane, hung around stretching their legs and having a fag. I had a chat with the pilot whilst taking a piss in the toilet and then we were all told to get back on the plane. I found all this very funny, it was like the bus rides but on a plane this time..
We arrived at Siem Reap in Cambodia on time though and sorted a visa and we were in a new country that takes us to 8 now i think…..