The last day of work went at lightning speed. The PoP staff all had lunch together at the office and then the day ended with everyone giving me hugs and taking some last second pictures. I feel sad to leave Laos, but it’s different than when I left Ghana because I already have my next adventure set, so I’m also excited to start something new, instead of having the added anxiety of being home and having to figure things out. I’m sure this is something I’ll continue to process for a while. It’ll probably hit me more once I settle into some kind f a routine again in China.
After work I go to the bus station to get the sleeper bus, which leaves at 830, 3 hours away still. There’s no way I’m going to wait here for that long. I pull out my phone to give Aaron a buzz. Oh right, the phone I was using belonged to PoP. I’m still able to walk all the way back to their house in 15 minutes. I get in one last going away dinner and beer with Aaron and then head back to the station.
I put my bag underneath the bus and hung around to make extra jokes about them not letting thieves take my bag. It seems to work as the guy tells his friend to look at my bag again and make sure. Hopefully that making sure isn’t them now planning to steal it.
I put my shoes in a small plastic bag. As I would expect, my size 12 shoes are spilling out of the top. I balance my bag on one shoulder and hug the bag of muddy shoes to my chest and go up onto the second floor of the beds. Okay, that’s a lie, they definitely aren’t beds. I’d say more like a floor mat.
There’s another person on my bed, I mean mat. I was warned about this before and have already played the worst case senarios in my head. I quickly introduce myself and try to get on his good side. He turns out to be a nice guy, so that’ll hopefully eliminate enough worry to sleep.
The pad is made for a person who is max 5’8″, so I can’t really fall asleep and 45 minutes in they’re already starting the pee breaks. Really!? Didn’t their mom teach them better to pee before leaving the house on a long trip. It was like a final parade before leaving mine. My mom would annoy us until we at least tried even if we didn’t feel like we had to and it seemed like even if there was no thought of the bathroom, I was still able to pee a little but and make the ride much smoother. Again, one of those things that seemed so annoying as a kid, but now I’m so grateful I had a mom aware enough to force me to learn.
At about 2:30 am we stop to eat food. This is something that sounds the like worst possible idea on an overnight trip somewhere. I never wake up for midnight snacks and just because I’m sleeping in a different place won’t change that. It doesn’t make any sense why these people should be hungry at this time and why they would just want to keep sleeping. I’m not happy at all this is set in our schedule. We get out of the bus and eat a meal that is some crappy excuse for noodle soup. Then we get back on the bus and I have to admit I get the best 4 hours of sleep during the whole trip. Everyone is full, so they’re all asleep and not thinking “oh gosh, it’s been 15 minutes, it’s probably time to pee again”. I also felt like I was a little hungry when we got off. I can’t explain it and it makes no logical sense, but it’s how I felt. I also figure a way to slightly prop my head and feet so I can be as closes to stretched as I can. It would work perfectly if the two people on the same mat could spoon, but since I just met this guy, I don’t want to freak him out. I wake up at one point and we’re just about as close to spooning we could be without actually touching. I think getting comfortable on this ride is a struggle for both of us.
I manage to get a solid four or five hours of sleep before waking up to see the entrance to Vientiane, the capital of Laos.