We arrived in Paske at around 2:00 pm. We had planned to stop at Champasak to take a look at the temples there, but fate intervened. We thought we would be dropped off in the town but it turned out it would be on the highway. The driver stopped at the intersection with the highway and the road to Champasak. He motioned us to get out, he spoke little English, pointed to the road to the town, and said "tuk tuk that way." There were no tuk tuks in sight, nothing in fact. We didn't relish the thought of standing on a highway, in what seemed the middle of nowhere, waiting for transport to Champasak, too tired, too wary! Oh well, on to Paske. Fatima took great pleasure in telling the other passengers that "he (me) didn't want to go there anyway". Well then, he wins, was the general consensus. Later we met a couple later in Paske, that we had already met in the Laos Embassy in Phnom Penh, who told us it was just a few kilometers from the highway to Champasak. "No worry" they said, "if you have seen Angkor then you would probably have been as disappointed in the temples in Champasak as we were." "There Fatima, I knew I was right!"
We planned to stay in Paske for just the one night. We stayed at the Palace Hotel. It was originally planned as a palace but when the King left in a hurry it was never finished. It was later turned into a hotel. Not really palatial, but not bad. We arranged our bus trip to Vientiane for the next day leaving at 8:00 pm and arriving in Vientiane at 6:00 am. Yes a night bus, a sleeper! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!! After experiencing a sleeper bus in India, I swore, never again! Why then? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides there were no other options apart from a private car, too expensive. The pictures of the bus helped sell us, it looked very modern and classy. We were told it had only been in service for one month. Yeah, in Laos maybe, but how many years in some other country? We spent the afternoon and the next day looking around the town. Not an unpleasant place, people were friendly and helpful. Much more pleasing compared to Don Det. We felt that we were meeting the friendly Laos people we had heard of and expected. There was not much to see in the town and the weather of course was very hot and hazy, high thirties, no snow, no ice, no cold winds. (Sorry folks I had to tell you. Do you know how trying it can be to experience endless summer? No, we don't expect any sympathy! ) The bus trip wasn't too bad, I only slept for about 3 hours. It was not very comfortable, mainly due to the very bumpy roads. Shake, rattle and roll time. Of course the odor of smelly feet and flatulence had to be tolerated as well! By the time we reached Vientiane we were looking forward to getting to our accommodation. Of course, arriving in a strange, misty town at 6:00 am, tired, hungry and unsure of what to expect is always exciting. Especially when you're crammed into he back of a pickup with about twenty other people, plus back packs and assorted bags and boxes, wondering if the driver really knows where you want to go. We were the last to be delivered to our lodgings. I think the driver liked us best. Just having some fun folks.