That’s how long it took On and I to get from Vientiane to her village—Paksong—about two hours south of Savannakhet.
We left Vientiane at 12:30 on the Vientiane-Pakse bound bus and didn’t get to Paksong until after midnight. It only cost On and I 80,000 Kip each for our tickets (about 300 Baht or $10.00), which is pretty darn cheap when you consider that it cost us 150 Baht for the tuk-tuk to the bus station.
It was a long, slow journey with the bus stopping many times to pick up or let off passengers. At one point, the bus stopped for passengers to take a pee break along side of the road. Along the way the bus also stopped periodically for passengers to get something to eat from roadside stands selling the usual road food fare, including, but not limited to a quarter grilled chicken on a stick, green mangoes, sticky rice, roasted sweet corn, and for the first two food pit stops, loaves of French baguettes (only 4,000 Kip, about 50 cents).
Usually for a long bus journey a video or two are shown on the bus’s TV, but on this journey there would be no movie or video. However, when the bus stopped at the Tha Khaek bus terminal, one of the bus attendants (these two guys that help with the luggage and sell tickets) popped in this karaoke video of Thai pop favorites. Fair enough, but perhaps a little risqué for the majority of the passengers because this video featured scantily-clad and big-bosomed Thai ladies in some very provocative poses in sports cars, on horses, and what cracked me up riding an ultra-light kind of aircraft (minus the wings) with her breasts bouncing up and down. I guess a few other passengers on the bus caught the humor of it all and also started to laugh.
On said that it should take around 10 hours to get to Paksong, but not this trip. We didn’t get to Savannakhet until after 10:30 and then we had to change buses. On told me that when a bus is not full, the bus company sometimes has the passengers get off and get on another half-full bus to save money. Unfortunately for us, we would be the ones getting off the bus and getting another bus: there was another Vientiane-Pakse bound bus waiting for us when the bus we were on arrived in Savannakhet. Kind of a drag having to get on another bus.