It wasn’t my day today. For some reason the hot water wasn’t working, so I had to have a cold shower. I checked out of my room and went to the bus station at 9:30 am to get a ticket for the 10 am bus. Unfortunately the bus was full and the next one didn’t leave until 12:30 pm.

The girl suggested I take a songthaew which was leaving soon. I wanted to get to the Thai embassy in the afternoon, so I wanted to get moving. Songthaew’s are not much more than an old ute with a couple of benches down the side. They are fine for short trips, but I didn’t really like sitting in one for three hours. Some other guy had already gotten the front seat.

There was a mother with a newly born and her young daughter who wasn’t travelling well. People get on and off anywhere along the way, carrying all manner of foodstuffs – live chickens and fish. Together with the windy roads, the smelly fish, people being sick and just bouncing around in the back of a truck I started feeling nauseous myself. My ipod is the only thing that keeps me sane on these trips. We made it into Vientiane in just under four hours.

While I was taking a look at a room in a guesthouse, I left my backpack at reception. Some places are three or four stories high, so I usually leave my bag at the front desk just in case the room is a dive. I come back to reception and my bag is gone. A bus driver had picked it up thinking it was from his group he was taking. Fortunately they hadn’t left, so I got it back off the bus. Close call.

I rushed off to the Thai embassy, only to find that they only accept visa applications in the morning. At least I picked up a form.