As I've been sitting at home all weekend on my deathbed (yes...I know most people lie on their deathbeds, but I'm hardcore) I've been using the time to (belatedly) start going through some plans for my trip. One blog I keep finding myself referring back to again and again is 'Madness and Beauty', an absolutely fantastic travelblog by Violet Dear, a Vancouverite who has really only just come back from epic travels around Asia and the Pacific.
One of the things I've been humming and hawwing about is whether to travel from Laos to Hanoi by bus or by plane. A plane journey will cost between £110 and £170 which is a LOT of money in backpackers speak, that's £140 I could be spending on Lao Beer or Kampot crab. So I went back to a post I remembered seeing on Violets blog about the 'Hell Bus' she took from Pakse in Laos to Hue in Vietnam.
Her choice of name for the bus ride says it all really. If you have time then please read the post, it's long, but it's so worth it. At the very least scroll through to the picture of the little goat tethered precariously to the top of the bus...I can't wait to visit this country. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, it basically involves:
- A Violet Dear with PMT
- The booking of a relatively comfortable VIP bus which then turns out to be a local tin-can bus loaded to the rafters with bags of rice, clay pots and Red Bull, plus goat.
- A 15 hour journey next to a lady with a bag of rotten snakes
- The popping of unprescribed valium in order to deal with the shambles...useful to know you can get your hands on that!
- Eventual dropping off in a random location in Vietnam....SOMEWHERE close to Hue...apparently.
It's awful, but I grinned all the way through the post, particularly at Violets description of her rant down the phone at the agent who sold them the tickets for the VIP tin can. I'm just glad that I can learn from experiences like these from the warmth and comfort of my own sofa. After a couple of exchanges back and forth...I think I'll take the plane, her memories of the journey haven't mellowed with time and taken on a comedic rose-tinted hue...nope.
'TAKE A PLANE!' are her precise words...who am I to argue!!??
Seriously, check out this blog, first and foremost she is an incredible writer and photographer, and she's bloody funny.
Secondly, it's a fantastic source of information for anyone planning to travel SE Asia, India, Oz, Fiji etc. Her posts are great and she also has lot's of links to genuinely useful travel sites.
I think my head is about to pop off so I'm off to consult google on where I should drill a hole in my skull to relieve the pressure.