24th - 26th June 2009
We took the 12 hour night bus from Vientiane to Pakse, our first night bus with actual beds. We had to share a bunk about the size of a king single but not as long. It was a lot better than any of the other seated buses we had caught even if it was a little cramped.
After settling into our hostel we went for a walk around the town. We went to a market which sold just about every useless thing under the sky. We were about 2km away from our hostel so we decided to bar hop our way back along the river. It was a lot of fun and one of the bars we went to was even floating on the water.
The next day we hired a manual scooter each and took a side trip up to the Bolavean Plateau to a town called Tadlo, over 100km away from Pakse. It was a really hot day and by the time we arrived 3 hrs later we were happy to go swimming in the beautiful waterfall there. It was so much fun riding up and we saw the cutest little piggies crossing the road all in a row. The town was like a large farm with plenty of chickens, ducks, pigs, cows and dogs all walking around free range. There were lots of baby animals too and when it came to feeding them all the different types of animals ate together. We also saw some men playing volleyball and it was really funny as they had played so much in the same positions that there were brown patches in the grass making three circles on each side of the court.
In the morning we woke up to rain. With a three hour ride back this was a little disappointing especially because we had to try and get back ASAP to meet up with Matt and Sian again. We had some breakfast and jumped on the bikes heading towards Pakse despite the rain. It wasn't long before we were on rocky and muddy roads. It got very slippery and there was one spot where we both had trouble riding in a straight line. The dirt roads navigated through farmland and whilst riding little kids would come up and get really excited to high five us and shake our hands as we rode past. The dirt roads lasted for about 50km and we were so happy to see some bitumen. At this point we were both freezing and pulled over at a small hut on the side of the road. There was a lovely family there who let us sit by their fire and gave us tea and coffee. Sammy taught their kids how to play Frisbee and they got us on an old video recorder. When we were leaving we thought it'd be a nice gesture to leave our Frisbee with the kids. Sammy gave it to the smallest child and his sister was a little bit jealous and started punching him in the arm. Woops, hopefully they understand the meaning of sharing!
When we got back to Pakse we had a note from Matt and Sian letting us know they had arrived and also that Michael Jackson was dead! We'll never forget finding out about that! We were really happy to see their familiar faces and went for another scooter ride to Champasak. We had trouble finding the spot to catch the ferry and ended up riding about 40km unnecessarily. We finally found the right place to be and caught the small ferry across. There was a temple there that was supposedly good but the ticket seller was trying to overcharge us so we refused to go in. We caught the ferry back again and at one point on the ride back to Pakse we passed a brick in the middle of the road. After that we couldn't see Matt and Sian anymore so we were really worried they had fallen off. We waited on the side of the road for a while and then rode back to try and find them. Fortunately they'd only stopped for fuel! It was a crazy ride and Sammy did an awesome job maneuvering through the heavy traffic whilst I took it easy and didn't need to back seat drive at all.
We had a really great time in Pakse with a lot of scooter riding and it was so nice to be travelling with our friends again!