I had an overnight journey from Vientane to Pakxe in the south of Laos and so I soon found myself on a busy bus trying to adjust the seat back as far as possible and adjust my legs a certain way to try and get comfortable, but without much success. I really am much too tall for these things! It didnt help that the guy sitting next to me was slightly overweight and was sweating heavily. I was chatting to him and he was a really nice guy. He even apologised when he sat down about any smell but it still ultimately meant my spending a considerable amount of time fiddling with the air conditioning to get the cold-by-air-conditioning/smell ratio correct. Then the guy started to show me his gps locater device which was interesting for the first 20 minutes and then rapidly became boring. I got about 1 hours half sleep in the end and I was really glad when we arrived into Pakxe.
The Canadian guy tagged along with me for a tuk tuk into town and we wandered around a couple of guesthouses but everywhere was full. Then we found somewhere with a room which I took, but the Canadian guy insisted on having hot water so he headed off. I collasped into bed and slept for the next four hours.
I had a shower and curiously observed what curiously looked like a mutant cockroach scramble around (back legs were strangely frog like) before wandering around the city. There really wasnt much to the place. I saw a nice wat very briefly in passing and went to the bank to get money out, which turned into an hour long process. Afterwards I sat at a restaurant and ordered some food when Rita, a girl I recognised from off the bus and who I had already bumped into twice before that day, entered and she joined my table.
We wound up chatting for a couple of hours and then went our separate ways for the time being. I wrote some postcards and headed down to the post office that was by the Mekong and while walking saw a curious sight - loads of Lao women of various ages doing line dancing to a hard dance version of the "Cheeky Girls." What an awful song and what a random song to make it to Laos! I was half expecting the women to touch themselves when the line "touch my bum" came on, but it was not to be.
I met up with Rita again in the evening for some food, but it was a really quiet night. There did not even seem to be a proper bar around to go to in the first place, so options were definitely limited. The following morning I headed on down south to the 4,000 islands which are meant to be good. Pakxe is only really known as a staging post.