Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Buses are my new nemesis 

Tired, I am. In the town of Pakse in southern Lao right now. Took some days (I forget how many. Blocked it out I think) to get here on many long bus rides. Local buses, which mean lots of stopping, WAY overcrowded buses (any available space which can be sat upon is), dusty (or in most cases these days, rainy-even dirty rain coming up thru the large hole in the floor), but interesting as hell.

Today's ride was supposed to be 3 hours. It was at least 6. And hot. Unfortunately, I am hitting my threshhold for people and crowds, and the stirrings of claustrophobia stirred and congealed on this ride. Not fun, especially when dehydration lack of sleep and no food are thrown in.

The bus of course did not drop us in town, so we had to grab a tuk-tuk to the guesthouse. In transit the driver pulled to the side of the road (someone across the way was flagging him, whether a prospective client or the cops I don't know). Seconds later a guy on a scooter smashed his right foot and the side of his scooter against the left-side of the tuk-tuk. Ouch. He pulled over. And get this: neither driver acted angry. In fact, we followed the scooter-dude (SD) to a mechanic to get the brake lever fixed up; gave him a ride to a pharmacy and the tuk tuk driver (TTD) bought him pain creme (the most interesting fix for a potentially broken foot I've ever seen. Duct tape would have completed things) and some pain pills. TTD even applied the creme for SD. Then we took him back to the mechanic. TTD paid for the repairs and slipped SD some cash! No idea what they were saying or who, if anyone, took the blame, but it was great to see. Amazing, concern for a PERSON and going out of your way (even with paying customers in your 'cab') to make sure he's taken care of. Hell of a concept.

No, there is no road rage here. Priorities, ya know?

Tomorrow I'm sleeping in. Maybe a short bus ride, but nothing long. The next few days will hopefully contain a free tour of a nearby coffee farm (this is the coffee region)(no, I will not be questing employment. Unless I get free use of my own personal elephant), an elephant ride, a night in a treehouse guesthouse, then more buses to the 4,000 Islands (very southern Lao, a section of the Mekong River (Delta?) with...yup, 4,000 islands). Not too much time left on this visa. It's been whirlwindy thus far, and that doesn't look to change.

Yeah, I'll be good to go once I land in the States: 2 weeks of constant travel then many hours plane-ing it, busing some more....oofda. Gotta keep me on my toes

One more thing. Once I get back there, I am going to exercise like a maniac. It's been.....at least wees since I did anything. Not pudgy, but I could use some. Badly.

The sun is down and the breeze feels nice (it's been hot as balls here). My future contains a hammock and a cold beverage of some sort...

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com