Savannaket, Laos
16° 32' N 104° 45' E
Jan 03, 2008 10:47
Distance 95km

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Text written in: English

Mini Shopping Spree

I had a quick stop over in Savannaket, as i'd been told that it was the best place to buy anything I needed before heading down south.  The journey was, as my South East Asian ones have been so far, pretty much on par.   The Laos people seem to have no concept of queuing.  As I was standing there in between the barriers (which there was only room for one person in) an Asian girl pushed right past me to get on the bus first.  I could not understand it.  The bus held about 30 people and there were only 8 of us standing there. 

On many of the buses is Laos they play this hideous Laos/Thai music full blast (and I mean full) for the entire journey.. I was struggling to hear my I pod music which was up full.  I have spoken to many travelers about this and it seems to be the same everywhere.  Joy of joys.. just a few more journeys to go!

I got off the bus at Savannaket and had a look around the markets.  Unfortunately the only other bus leaving to Pakse that day was at 5pm so I was going to get in at 11pm.  Not the best by any means but I was there and there was nothing I could do.  No one knows the times of buses here except for the people at each station so there's no way of finding out in advance to plan your journey.  I had been planning to get an over night bus then onto Champasak but they don't seem but be as common as in Thailand so I had no choice but to get stuck in Pakse overnight.

For the life of me I could not find accommdoation in Pakse.  After trying 8 Guest Houses and them all being full I started to panic.  The girl at the ticket booth kindly let me borrow her phone to call round them.  I eventually found one at around 20 pounds per night.. extremely expensive for Laos and way over my budget but at least it was a roof over my head.  

The men at the bus station are pro's at making a lone western girl feel uncomfortable.  The staring was constant and very intrusive.  I know it's best not to retaliate but at times I found myself glaring at them just to make them stop.  They eventually did but would then just begin 2 minutes later.  Many of them came up to me and sat beside me, asking me where I was going.  A perfectly innocent question in some cases but I wasn't taking any chances and politely told them I didn't want to talk.   

Something else I hate about the buses over here is the amount of people that smoke on them.  Not so bad if you're hoping on and off but when it's an 6 hour journey it gets a bit much.  We were stopping for breaks where they could smoke but it obviously wasn't enough (they do smoke like chimneys over here).   Another thing.. toilet stops.. they don't have roadside loos so if you're on the road and you need a pee.. it's down with the knickers in full view of the bus.  I elected to stay thirsty.