As soon as I am at the border checkpoint, I get back on my bus and leave the golden building behind me. To the right and left of the road, a hilly landscape spreads, densely overgrown in a thousand different shades of green. It reminds me a lot of Nepal. There's just one difference (besides all the obvious ones). Currently, there are no dusty mountain slopes and the like. Long live the rainy season.
When I arrive at the bus station in Oudomxay, the bus to Luang Prabang is ready, so I have to jump in quickly and go on. The slightly smaller and more spacious minibus smells of vomit. I sit down in one row of seats and realise too late that my arm and my knee are leaning against a wall covered in puke. The sharp smell is digging into my jeans. Disgusted, I jump off my bench and crawl into a single seat. Another German is sitting on the bus with me. He comes from Vietnam and has been sitting in this vehicle for over 12 hours. We open the windows and hold our hands in the breeze. Soon my head follows, so lovely is it to let the millions and millions of green leaves rush past my open eyes. I'm not sick of the green. I remember the deserts in Iran and the dry grass in India too well. The green here reminds me a lot of home. Occasionally I see rubber plantations and tea terraces that break through the monotony of the jungle. Simple and beautiful. The people who look at me from the roadside are not wealthy. Life seems to be as one-dimensional as the landscape. Not much choice, not much self-determination, but always something to eat on the table.
Halfway there we stop for a moped driver and his broken down vehicle. Our bus driver takes pity and quickly loads the moped into the corridor of the bus. On the way to Luang Prabang are a lot of sharp turns in which the motorbike tilts dangerously back and forth. But only twice it crashes out of its hold and deepens one of the already existing scratches. The owner doesn't bother. He seems only too happy to be off the hairpin curve.
When we arrive in Luang Prabang in the dark, we stop the bus at the entrance to the city to get out close to the accommodation booked by my spontaneous travel companion. Since I had planned to arrive the next day because I couldn't be sure that I would catch a bus to Luang Prabang in time, I have no reservation myself and join him. To get out of the bus, we have to jump out of one of the windows as the scooter blocks the corridor and the door. I am devilishly glad that I am wearing my big shoes, not my bright green Youtube flip-flops, which were handed down to me in Nepal. Even so, the jump from a meter high window with an eighteen-kilo backpack is no joy. Sweaty and stuffy we walk through the unfamiliar city, past small supermarkets and hotels. There's not much more in this part of the town. The hostel has one more bed for me, and so we drop our luggage, go around the corner to eat fried rice, take a shower and then fall into a long peaceful slumber. Luang Prabang.
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