Dec 18th, 2014
From where the “gangster looking” driver dropped me, I walked a few minutes, passed a school where little kids looked at me with full curiosity, and arrived at a gas station. One truck was standing there and the driver’s English was barely sufficient to understand me, but he asked for money.
—“What?! You don’t have money?!”……
I smiled. “No money. I am poor!”
He was shocked, lost all his hope of making a few extra bucks on his face and looked pretty severe. Obviously what I said had deeply disturbed the inner peace of his mind. He was stupefied for a few seconds and then spoke again — asking for an a-bit-lower price……
“No way, man. I am a nomad, a hitchhiker by heart. It’s against my principle to pay for a ride instead of real hitchhiking. 😛 :P” I thought.
Eventually he gave up and went away with his truck, “Teng Teng Teng…!!!” The huge noise ruthlessly shook the uneven ground of the gas station. His destination was the capital of Laos — Vientiane, so Lang Prabang was right on his way and there was plenty of space in his truck. Well, some people were simply not the type that would give people a free ride. 🙂
Soon enough appeared the most shabby truck I had ever seen, a record soon to be broken in my days in Laos. The driver looked quite close-minded, judging from his facial expression and how his eyes shone, or better to say, not shone. I pointed to the copilot seat and asked if I could sit there. He picked up his face, which was darkened by exhaust and oil, looked at me with something like a smile and nodded with some doubts. But when I just set my ass on it, he dropped “something like a smile ” and immediately signed me to get down…… Ok……
I quitted the gas station and stood on the roadside, with a sign “Luang Prabang”, written in both Laos and English. A Chinese car stopped! A young guy stick his head out of the window and spoke in Chinese:”Where do you want to go? Get in.”
Obviously they did not even read my sign. The young guy, from Hunan province, simply saw my face, thought I was Chinese and asked the driver to stop. A very friendly guy! There were another two people, colleagues of him, sitting in front, but they did not seem to be interested in talking with me or even give a smile. This young guy was on his way to a city named Muang Xai to buy some corns from local farmers. He was of my age (I am 28 if you don’t know 😀 ). He had been running between China and Laos for 3 years. Previously all those fields in this part of Laos were planted with poppies and the opium was mainly for illegal export. Yes, opium! Then Chinese government made a deal with the farmers — “If you clear the poppies and instead grow corns or other crops, we will guarantee the sell,” so every year a lot of Chinese companies come here to buy corns.
During Second World War, as part of the bigger strategy of the allies, a lot of Chinese armies were deployed to SEA to combat the Japanese and secure the communication between the allies in India, Indochina and China. Those Chinese soldiers who died in this war were buried here. There was even a memorial monument in the graveyard. We passed there.
Before turning to some villages in front of Muang Xai he dropped me.
“If nobody takes you, just find a room in Muang Xai to sleep. Won’t be expensive!”
I forgot to tell him — “I don’t have money.” 😉 😛 😀