Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng: The Little Bus That Absolutely Could Not

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng: The Little Bus That Absolutely Could Not

After four days in Luang Prabang, we decided to catch a bus south, to Vang Vieng. An hour of start and stop driving through the mountains later, we sputtered to a halt on the side of the road.

A man emerged from a nearby hut to help. Brandishing rain boots, official looking badges, and a machete, he joined our driver to try to figure out what was going on.

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

The driver could speak absolutely no English (and I think he was a man of few words anyways), but it seemed that the box filled with liquid responsible for cooling down the engine was broken. There was a lot of poking and pulling and eventually it was decided that the best course of action was to pour bottles of water into the box, watch the water leak out of the bottom, curse, and then repeat.

Every so often the water would explode like a volcano out of the car. We took this as an excellent sign.

The man from the hut gave up. We entertained the possibility we’d have to move in with him. bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, landJust when we were about to start fighting over who got the top bunk, three giant Land Rovers full of badass looking Thai guys pulled over!

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, landSomeone did something right and we were all loaded back into the van. We were off!

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

And then we weren’t. We pulled over and the pour water/watch leak/curse method started up again.

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

We were very alone. 

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, landBut then the Thai guys appeared again!

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, landBut then they told us “God will help you.” and they left.

Alone again.

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

The driver took out the box thingy and spiked it on the ground. Another excellent sign.

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, landA new van arrived with a new box thingy! It was installed and off we went!

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

Naturally, we broke down again almost immediately, but this time it was at a restaurant, which prevented a total emotional collapse.

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

A brief visual summary of how our bus’ morale faired throughout the ten-hour day:

Breakdown1Breakdown2Breakdown3 

Then, because we had used up every bottle of water left in the country, we finally got a new van!

bus, luang prabang, vang vieng, laos, break down, broken, travel, land

The End.

Or was it?

No it was.

Thank god.

 

1 Comment

  1. Another great adventure. When you quoted the Thai guys, “God will help you”…. I usually don’t laugh at such things but man that was special. =P

    Reply

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