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Typically people living in Shanghai don’t do their visa run in Laos, and work in a bar for two weeks while sorting it out. But maybe I’m not a typical Shangahi expat.

the bus traverses all manners of weather. the sky playing theatre for us, performing shadow shows across rice fields and sending prisms through the bus. Monsoon rains almost throw us sideways as we plough down the heart of the highway dodging potholes, snaking towards wide-eyed trucks blaring horns. Then the entire scene is washed away by beating wipers, and suddenly the road ahead is clear. Forget seatbelts. Rainbows appear and make transient impressions on the sky.

Four, five, or was it six hours later, we pull onto the old airstrip, rocking side to side over craters I remember walking across in broken shoes to Lao weddings. There is a fairground set up; lights of the ferris wheel flash against the mountain silhouettes.

Arriving here makes the whole ordeal of getting here worth it. 21 hours sleeping on a bench in Saigon airport with a cold & fever diminishes into a memory as distant as last year. Now it feels like I never left.

The driver climbs on top of the bus and begins nonchalantly throwing down bags from the towering princess and the pea pile. Suddenly he’s up there waving a ballet shoe through the air. Of course it’s mine. Ballet shoes I’d shoved into the side pockets of my bag as I ran to catch the bus (forgetting how Lao time creeps in comparison to Shanghai, and then sitting on the bus for an hour before it finally leaves). Fantastic. The other shoe probably escaped under the cover on the way here and is probably in some rice field somewhere enjoying the view. So shoeless and sleep-deprived, I find myself back here. Bo bpen nygan; no worries, no problems.

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One thought on “Returning to Laos

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