'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day 15 and 16 – Vientiane and almost into Vietnam – The meeting of Royalty!

Well we are over half way now and some are even starting to count the sleeps until our return...No doubt you parents have been doing this since day one!

Day 15 for the group was spent around Vientiane planning and booking transport and accommodation for our trip to Savanakhet and further into Vietnam. The plan was also to go to the local water park but after some investigation we found that this was closed due to some dodgy tax evasion by the owners. Most members seemed happy to chill in front of the TV at the guest house or go for massages...After a splendid evening meal at the Full Moon restaurant most finished the night off buying snacks and drinks for the long journey we have tomorrow.

Our 'Local' Bus
Day 16 started well with the entire group up and packed before breakfast, it then seemed to go downhill from that point on. We were due to catch the bus at 10.00hrs from the South Bus station. Eighteen members of the group got in a large truck type Tuk tuk and headed off to the bus station with plenty of time to spare...leaving four of us who were told that our transport would be along 0930hrs I was beginning to worry...but I was reassured by the staff of the excellent Mixay Paradise, where we had been staying, that it would not be too long...The transport eventually turned up at 0945hrs and we set off at 0950 for the bus station 5 km away...little did I know we would then go and pick many others up from other guesthouses and hostels. So it wasn’t until 1035hrs that we were climbing aboard our bus which the others had managed to persuade (just) to wait for us. (Cliff had Ellis, Coops and Glen with him – we were encouraging the bus driver to leave! ( Just joking). Tina)

The journey on this crammed bus was never boring with windows wide (no AC as it was a local bus) and the window drapes flapping we stopped occasionally for the driver to have a quick ciggy and the rest of the bus to have a pee. The rest of the bus included those sitting on plastic seats in the centre isle...only in Laos! At the stops food was available and it was with disgust we watched a couple of locals eating the duck egg embryos which a couple of the guys in our group have said they are going to try (watch this space).

After 9 long hours we arrived in Savanakhet. This was where the most bizarre moment on all my trips with World Challenge took place. It all began when we arrived at the restaurant for the evening’s meal...

We were told that we could get served but had to wait 15 minutes as the restaurant was busy, so we just hung around...some bought snacks and drinks while others just chattered and got our order ready for when we eventually got in. Outside the restaurant we noticed a car which for Laos seemed very out of place...It was a brand new black Rolls Royce. Then we noticed a few other very nice cars, Range Rovers etc and we thought this must be where the money is in Laos and speculated as to what business makes enough money to buy such cars. Miss Posner got all high n mighty saying it was corrupt “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer”...And that it’s got to be the Chinese business money. How wrong she was...and not for the first time on this trip :-). Everyone was starting to get a little agitated for all our waiting when Shay (The Tornado!) noticed that there was a table free if two guys moved to another table so she ‘stormed’ in Shay style and asked the guys if they wouldn’t mind moving...then someone else in the restaurant asked how many there were of us..with the answer of 22 the other guy said “oh ok we will leave then”...On their way out Miss Posner managed to chat to the gang who had been holding us up in the restaurant asking ‘What kind of jobs do you guys have to get cars like that?’...Only turns out that the lady of the group (the only one) was no other than the First Lady to The President of Laos!!!! Holy S*** did we feel embarrassed...But after chatting for a while to the First Lady and telling her how much we loved Laos and Mel (Miss Posner) telling her that if she ever visits Australia she was welcome to stay with her, we think we smoothed over any feathers that had been ruffled. (We were however poised and ready to hit the deck if a black car with tinted windows was to do a ‘drive by’- Tina). After they left, we were left with the strangest feelings...Had Shay just told the First Lady of Laos to get out of the restaurant so the Kinross posse could eat? hahahahahahahahah...This will be a story I will tell for a long long time!!!

All going well out here folks...the kids are missing you guys but really starting to get the swing of travelling in South East Asia.

Stay safe

Cliff (Ed.) :-)

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