Spent just a brief overnight in Pakse, the largest metropolis in southern Laos, en route to the Four Thousand Islands. Sometimes a city without much to offer asthetically or culturally (as is Pakse) can offer us some creature comforts that we normally wouldn't be found in rural areas. Western food, and good Indian food, quick internet connections, and a cheap room with a hot shower were welcomed offerings from Pakse. We caught a morning bus (what turned out to be a covered truck) out of the city on Sunday morning towards Si Phon Don, and shared a spacious and uneventful ride with our new Australian friend, Anna. I slept, on account of an uncomfortable bed and restless sleep the night before, Jon read, and the other local passengers smoked packs of cheap cigarettes, as the rain drizzled outside.