Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Day in Pakse

Overnight buses are getting to be more comfortable. When I first arrived in Lao, there were only the ordinary buses, with straight backs that rattled along the highways. A twelve hour trip in one of these buses seemed to both loosen my joints, so I couldn't stand or walk properly for an hour after getting off the bus, and create muscle spasms in unusual places of my body.

Then, as the roads to the south improved, the quality of the buses improved too. There were overnight sleeper buses, first with seats that could go back a little way - just enough so that when people slept, they tended to fall over on their neighbors - and then with seats that could really lean back. Now there are buses with double decker bunk beds, and I have learned to be able to sleep in them.

I usually set my iPod to the latest audiobook I'm listening to. Several hours later, I'll wake up and find that the story has really jumped and I don't remember anything. So I rewind and start over again.

By the time I reached Pakse, this morning, I had listened to the same section of Rohinton Mistry's book, A Delicate Balance, about four times. Ate breakfast, went over to the regional hospital to sit in on part of a training, spent some time updating files on the internet, and then we returned to Salavan.

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