March 16, 2008   

15th – A 3 hour layover in Pakse southern bus station is not the funnest of things. The place is a dump and they don’t have many westerners travelling through – the usual signs in english are missing.

We loaded with 40 other people into a well packed pick up. The women in charge seemed to think it was a guiness book of records challenge to see how many people and bags she could get on the back of a pick up. The usual street sellers crowded around but this time it was machetes (what would we westerners want with a machete – come on man (Annabelle’s reaction) and turnip looking things.

 Annabelle as usual can sleep anywhere and promptly fell asleep but got woken up by a Loas man who was concerned by her head movements. He was sure she would head butt the baby in a mothers arms across from us. She asked in an accusatory tone why I hadn’t woken her! I was enjoying watching the locals expressions too much to spoil the fun. You have to get some amusement on these trips from somewhere.

The pick up loaded onto a Loas style car ferry along with a bunch of lorries and after some trouble docking we unloaded the other side of the Mekong to be dropped the otherside of town (Champasak) from the guest houses. Of course right into the arms of a tuk tuk driver who wisked us off to his chosen guesthouse after we told him we wanted to go to the tourist office. The tourist office was indeed like the lonely planet guide says brand new but it was vacant with no signs of life.

After some breakfast and a nap in the hammoks we rented a motorbike with a side car and went to explore the temple ruins. The service at our guest house was Faulty Towers like with the lady coming back 25 minutes after we had ordered to ask us again what we had ordered as she hadn’t written it down. Then 15 minutes later two drinks came out – I think she was actually growing the lemons – and were given to the wrong people! We figured out pretty quickly that this was the norm.

The Wat was a pretty amazing site but it was really really hot. We have now started taking pictures in black and white so that we don’t look hot and flustered and lobster red in all our photos. �

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