Luang Prabang 2010

Just found this in my drafts. Here it is published two years later.

Very beautiful town but the time there was sullied by pink-eye and illness. On top of that Garlick and Digweed got robbed by a cheeky bugger with a hook on a stick that he poked through their window in the middle of the night. Will woke up and scared him off but they lost a camera, an ipod and some money.

And then on this one day there was like this waterfall and OMG it was like sooooo pretty and these people were like this place is awesome and I was like totally and near the waterfall there were like these bears who were like rescued and shit and they were like so cute and the water was like sooooo turquoise and I jumped off a small waterfall and it was so much fun.

I liked Luang Prabang but with less than two weeks left it was time to move on south towards Cambodia and Thailand and so with Will and Carmel I took a bus to Vientiane. We had chosen the V.I.P bus and I joked that all that would mean is that it would have frilly curtains. I wasn't far wrong. Will and I had foolishly started drinking and so were desperately hoping for a toilet on board. There wasn't. In fact it was a bloody cheek calling it V.I.P at all; there were ten people too many on board, the leg room would have given a dwarf bruised knees and it broke down for 4 hours.

The break down was moaned about by the majority of the western passengers. We took it as an opportunity to build a fire and sing some songs. One passenger had a guitar, another was travelling with bongos. I know what you're thinking, there are two types of people who travel with bongos. He was the dickish type. After loading all our bags on to another bus only to realise it was about twenty seats smaller we loaded them back on to the original bus and eventually it chugged back to life to wind its way round the lumpiness of Laos.

My most distinct memory of the journey was the final couple of hours when our already over filled bus picked up another family of locals. A father and three ill looking children. They sat in the aisle next to me and were all handed plastic bags. Within minutes the purpose of the bags became clear. All three children began to be sick in to the bags at  frequent intervals. I assumed they had been in so few moving vehicles that travel sickness was unavoidable. The youngest of the kids was resting his head on my leg and a bit of sicky dribble was trailing from his mouth on to my thigh. I became annoyed. I had paid extra for the nice bus and this was what I got.

Stop, look at yourself Glyn. You have become everything you dislike about western tourists. Here you are in their country having the time of your life and you have the disgusting superciliousness to think you have it bad because you deserve more from your V.I.P. bus. Next to you there is a family dressed in rags who may be on their way to the big town for one of the first times in their lives, for all you know to go to hospital or to try and start a new life.

I felt ashamed. I learnt a lesson and was reminded just how lucky I was; to be travelling, and to have been born in a wealthy country.