The ‘VIP’ bus into Vietnam (towards Danang, by way of Hue) left pakse about 830am. On time! We were glad to note wider seats, and even gladder to get the backseats with prime stretch-space for our legs- in fact, sacks of onions (and other travelers’ bags) served as our feet rests the entire trip, which i’m sure had very good health benefits.
We were also glad to see the amiable naomi and bobby again. (We explained ourselves, putting canisters and petrol and flames together.) Not only did they pepper the long trip with hilarious jokes, shared anecdotes of their life in okinawa, it was naomi who spilt the open secret that is hoi an tailors. She’d be heading there, gown design and tailor’s address in hand, to make her own wedding dress! That wasn’t what swayed me (really. i didn’t bring that much money to shop), though i did wind up with three silk dresses out ,leaving hoi an. Naomi had painted such a gorgeous picture of quaint shophouses, beaches, seafood and the art of bespoke tailoring. She was excited, and with a purpose; and it was lovely to see a couple on an adventure for their lives together.
Leaving laos felt just as unassuming as arriving in it. Slowly the scenery changes, dust ceases, buildings crop up, houses feature more bricks, and the vietnamese women, who like to cover up against the sun, look less of the rural toughness lao people tend to have. Signs everywhere scream their business in vietnamese. The multi-accented letters in latin alphabets even more confounding to the english-speaking brain than the gently graphic abugida script in laos.