Saturday, April 3, 2010

The VIP Bus

The VIP bus is anything but.  The only indication that it is in fact the VIP bus are the huge letters emblazoned across the front windshield that read "VIP."  The seats are all made of the plastic pleathery material that makes you sweat when hot, the seat numbers are scrawled in permanent marker on the backs of the seats, and the rest of the interior is in various states of disrepair.  As I write this an unknown liquid substance is dripping on me from a crack in the shelving above my seat.  Attempts to stem the flow of the dripping with the ugly green curtains have so far proved unsuccessful.

 A sarcastic thumbs-up from Court

Several of the windows are cracked from what appear to be bullet holes but are hopefully just from stones being thrown at the bus by kids as it passed through one of the many villages that line the road.  Probably not though. I'm pretty sure I saw one of the guys that loaded our bags onto the bus carrying some sort of machine gun over his shoulder, loosely concealed by his jacket, which seems to suggest that buses being shot at is not completely unheard of.

Bullet or rock?
Court is asleep next to me, mouth open wide, catching up on the sleep we missed out on last night on account of our 5am start to go and watch the monks receive their morning alms.  I don't know how she does it.  The roads are so windy and bumpy, I struggle just to stay upright in my seat.

I finished my book an hour ago and it looks like we still have several to go.  A stop for lunch was promised when we bought our ticket but I'm not so sure now as we pulled over a short distance back, apparently so that anyone needing to relieve themselves could do so in the bushes.  The break was not a moment too soon for one young Lao woman who proceeded to throw up several times on the ground beside the bus as she held her baby next to her so he could go potty.  Now there's some multitasking.

Looking around the bus to occupy myself I notice that the emergency hatch in the roof that is commonly found, and probably mandatory, on buses is sealed shut with what looks like a piece of kitchen countertop.  Also just noticed that the holder for the little hammer that is supposed to be used to break the window in an emergency is missing.  Apparently once you're on the VIP bus, you're on it.

The curtain seems to be holding for now but I fully expect it to collapse at some point, one drop too many, and soak me in my seat.  Court is still sleeping.  Lucky girl.  Maybe if I put the pen down I'll be able to catch a few winks before the curtain gives.

We've been on another VIP bus since this was written and it was sooo much better than this one.  The windows were in tact, seats comfy, no leaks, TV.  It even had a quite fetching design on the outside.  Apparently not all VIP buses are created equal.

Now THAT'S a VIP bus!


  1. I really like the color of the bus. It is pretty gorgeous.

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