The atms are magically filled in town and I am able to close my tab. It is not easy to say goodbye to the farm family, Mr. T embracing with sincere kindness and encouraging me to return. I will for sure.
I share another affectionate hug with the meditation loving friend, one I will certainly cross paths with again. As I am leaving another sister is arriving that she too knows, one she lived across from in a hostel in Bali a couple months ago. The synchronicities of a sacred sisterhood are beyond belief. Bali is too calling me strongly, the energy of the volcanoes beckoning my spirit. A yoga/music festival at the March makes the invitation even more enticing. Hmm. Wind take me where ever I am supposed to be.
A tuk-tuk picks me up to take me to town where I cruise the streets for the final time before I am carried in another tuk-tuk with a large group to the bus station where a mess of us leaving Vang Vieng are separated by destination. The whole tourist industry is controlled by the government/a few organizations and it is all a strange shuffling of power. Those of us heading to Bangkok and Hanoi, seemingly very distant locations, pile into one bus and head to Vientiane. The intended time to leave is 1:30 pm. We pulled out of the station after 3 pm. The bus is the most odd of all thus far, with no seats but bunk bed like structures, each so called bed allocated for two people. The bus reminded me most of a circus caravan with a similar red leather interior with brass grommets. One guy on the bus publicly shares that he wishes he could be snuggling with a girl instead of his male partner. I cuddle up with a girl from France after we place our shoes in the mandatory plastic bags. As the bus drives the four hours to the capital down the same bumpy road, we knock into one another frequently, giggling at the lunacy of it all. It is all perfect.
In Vientiane the Hanoi bound folks bit adieu to those of us Bangkok bound and we head to the Lao border, about a 20 minute drive, in a more standard style city bus. The border crossing is swift although all are required to pay a 9000 kip overstay fee regardless if one has actually remained in the country past one’s permission. It is a $1 symbol of muscle flexing. GRRRRRRRR. I smell the sweat.
We change buses again, this time a double-decked “VIP” bus with reclining seats, TV, and a bathroom. I am so grateful that we have distinct individual seats and find a corner to plop down. We cross the Lao-Thai friendship bridge, driving first on the right and exiting on the left. Thank you Laos and Thailand for being so friendly. You are both so incredibly wonderful.
On the Thai side we hop off the bus again, taking off our bags as well, to go through immigration and customs. The bus waits for us all at the end of the process, the driver and his two assistants chain smoking as we recollect and place our bags back in a luggage compartment for the umpteenth time. Around 10:30pm we stop at a 7-11 for dinner, choosing between the options of ramens in every possible flavor, potted meat products on sticks, steamed Chinese pork buns, pickled brown eggs, and crispy snacks of fish, seafood, or pork, and potato chips of the same flavors. 7-11 in Thailand certainly highlights the local specialties. Back on the bus the film “The Hangover Part II” is played and I must embarrassingly admit that it is a bit more charming as I am heading to the city in which it features. The ride continues. Sleep after filling ourselves with sodium and msg and we arrive safe and sound in Bangkok around 7am.
Transportation to Bangkok with a DIRECT-ticket purchase:
I am in THAILAND. Again. Time to head south!