All of sudden I buy a bus ticket from Nang-Noi guest house for an local bus going to Hue Vietnam from Pakse Laos using Samouay – Lalai border. 200,000 Lao Kip is a good deal when others charge 250,000.
Ticket says 5 AM so I wait out at the guest house 15 minutes earlier. Amazingly a small pickup truck turns up ten to five and takes me to the place where the bus is waiting. Boxes of loads are filled under the seats but the number of passenger hardly counts 15. At 5:30 AM off the bus moves toward border.
Around 8 AM , bus stops for refueling and hoses water down the brakes to cool them from the heat. I wonder why water the back brakes when the front brakes are responsible for 80% of the stopping job. And I think it is the brake fluid not the drums that matters with heat. Anyway locals are always right.
At least 30 plus years old Korean-made bus with high ground clearance for off-road runner.
At 10:30 AM, bus drops all Lao passengers into a restaurant that is near Lao border , while one person of the group takes all the passports to the immigration for exit stamp. I am asked to go myself for my own duty.
Immigration building of Lao side(Samouay border). Everyone strolls free here up and down. Very relaxed. Lots of vendors are selling sim cards and Vietnamese money Dong. Don’t buy anything here. The sim card for Vietnam needs to be registered with your passport, so you can’t do it yourself. For money exchange, rates are terrible.
Vietnam side border(Lalai) is 2 Kms away from Lao border. Bus leaves the Lao border at 11:00 AM and arrives Lalai in 5 minutes time. Here Lao citizens go through x-ray screening with all the belongings while foreigners(only me) meet a quarantine officer to answer simple questions like your address in Vietnam, job, purpose of visit.
At 11:20 AM, bus makes its way up and down the mountain pass which is very windy and narrow. Locals start using a plastic bag for the throw-ups.
Some knock out like this.
It must be the season for a slash and burn. Smoke of burning crop deters vision of the bus driver.
Getting down from the mountain road runs with rivers.
The bus arrives Hue Vietnam at 14:30 PM somewhere north west of the city. Very early touching down makes me happy as I have plenty time to acclimatize the new country.
On a xe-om(motorbike taxi) I get into central area and check in Tin Tin guest house on Duang Pham-Ngu-Lao and the receptionist looks at my T-shirt in awe and makes a scream.
I never realize I have been wearing this.
I am considered a representative of the hostel, and get a 50% discount on room charge. Well windfall really happens in Vietnam.