Luang Prabang to Hanoi. The bus company said it would take 24 hours. They lied. I have the journal entries to prove it.
6:08pm - The bus is pulling away. Shane and I are wedged into sleeper seats. I think they went with the name "sleeper seats" because "painful dentist chairs for anorexic people" seemed a little wordy. There is a metal bar running across my shins that I am definitely going to kick the living hell out of in middle of the night. There is no bathroom on this bus. This is going to suck.
6:10pm - I just cracked open The Kite Runner. I have heard it's a good book. I have about 20 minutes of light before I have to start reading by flashlight. Shane has the window seat. I am all up in his personal space trying to get to that light.
6:42pm - I figured out what the shin bar is for, these roads are really rough. The shin bar is there to keep me from plummeting into the aisle--a roller coaster harness basically.
6:50pm - Yes! The genius bus operators just starting playing a god awful music video. The volume is cranked up to 100. Books are being closed. iPods are being turned off. The only thing I can hear above the video noise is WTF!! in seven different languages.
6:51pm - The people have spoken. The video is off. It's getting dark. Flashlight time.
7:45pm - Ugly ass gold drapes and Shane's head are blocking any view I would have through the side window. I can see through a small section of the front window however and that shit is scary. It's all road bushes road bushes road bushes. The driver is charging through these mountains. I'm ready to get off this ride and get a churro. Or maybe a funnel cake.
8:15pm - I think the girl in front of me is going to hurl. Please don't hurl girl in front of me.
9:23pm - We just concluded a 30 minute pit stop. I ate a bag of BBQ flavored peanuts and a Kit Kat for dinner. I want to fall asleep soon, but not too soon.
9:23 and 35 seconds - One Valium. Two Valium. See you on the otherside.
3:29am - I am awake. Well my brain is awake but my body is still in Valium land. You should see my handwriting. Four year olds would judge me. I am awake because we stopped in the middle of no where to pick up two ASSHOLES who don't seem to be aware that everyone else on the bus is SLEEPING. I would tell them to shut the f--- up but turning my head sounds like a lot of work.
3:30am - 7:00am - This lovely chunk of time was filled with tossing, turning, bizarre mini-dreams, muttered F-bombs about the shin bar and revenge plots against the aforementioned ASSHOLES.
7:30am - We got off the bus and walked a couple hundred yards to the Vietnam Immigration Office. It was pretty painless as far as these things go.
9:00am - We are back on the bus. The driver is playing shitty Laos music. An Aussie dude behind me loves the sound of his own voice. He is currently taking an over/under bet on what time we will arrive in Hanoi. He is asking every passenger on the bus and logging their times in his phone. Boredom does things to a man.
12:05pm - I just bit my tongue. It woke me up. How did I fall asleep with all the twisting and turning and Aussie dude talking you ask? Bus sleep is like a coma, it's your body's way of saying, "This effing hurts, I'm out."
1:10pm - We just finished lunch at a typically sketchy roadside stand. My options for Vietamese meal #1 were:
Rice with fish
Rice with beef
Rice with chicken
Rice with meat
Meat. Woof woof.
1:45pm - Have I mentioned how terrible these roads are? We are going so slow we just got passed by a kid on a bike.
2:48pm - My peek-a-boo view of the passing countryside is really beautiful. Rice fields of vibrant green are being tended by people in traditional dress. They are carrying large baskets full of harvested rice on 50's era bicycles.
2:53pm - Hey driver. STOP HONKING THE HORN!!!
3:00pm - Imagine going down a slip-and-slide that was layed over rocks and branches and sharp little kid toys. That is what this bus ride feels like.
3:25pm - I am awake. My ass cheeks are not.
5:27pm - The road is starting to look like something made for cars not cows. Almost there?
6:13pm - It has been 24 hours and 5 minutes. I just saw a sign that read "Hanoi 120 km." Hit the gas liars!
9:35pm - We are off the bus and sitting in a cab. Hanoi looks cool. I am starving. Food is priority number one. No woof woof meat.