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.
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.
Someone did something right and we were all loaded back into the van. We were off!
And then we weren’t. We pulled over and the pour water/watch leak/curse method started up again.
The driver took out the box thingy and spiked it on the ground. Another excellent sign.
Naturally, we broke down again almost immediately, but this time it was at a restaurant, which prevented a total emotional collapse.
A brief visual summary of how our bus’ morale faired throughout the ten-hour day:
Then, because we had used up every bottle of water left in the country, we finally got a new van!
Or was it?
No it was.