Cau Treo Travel Blog› entry 28 of 43 › view all entries
March 20th, 2008 – by: worldcitizen
There were only seven people heading to Laos, including our tour guide. It was the end of the trip for The Canadians and The Kids were heading up to Sapa. I was sad to see the rest of my circle go, but I did like having a smaller sized group. I also thought it would give me a chance break away from the group more and meet other travelers.
Our hotel packed us some pastries to go for breakfast. The driver promised we would stop in one hour for a coffee break.
A guy in our group pointed out that it was much more than an hour since the drivers promised a coffee stop. He was in need of a cigarette break. I reminded them, but we were in the middle of nowhere. For once, I wished I could just find a Starbucks. The first cafe we stopped at was apparently not a cafe.
Further down the street a place was open and they seemed flustered and unprepared for our business.
We stopped only once more for a "bathroom break" on the side of the road. I went down a hill and into some bushes where I thought I had some privacy. I looked across the stream and there were some kids on the other side watching me. Oh well. We were supposed to stop in a larger town for lunch, but the drivers kept on driving, only pausing briefly to switch places.
It had become clear to us that they were most concerned with getting back to Hanoi.
It was sometime in the afternoon when we arrived at the border town, Cau Treo. We sat down in a "restaurant" filled with army members and ordered "lunch". The driver told us our options: Beef noodle soup. We were already suspicious of him and wanted to confirm that it was beef. He responded emphatically, "It's beef. Not chicken, not pork, not dog. Beef."
More military men came and they were eating interesting meals that I guess were not available for us.
We went into the building where we would get stamped out. The floor was inexplicably wet and there was an atmosphere of shadiness. The two of us who arrived in the room first were approached by a border crossing official who asked us for something.
I finally figured out that he wanted- an American two dollar bill. I told him that none of us had two dollar bills, but we would be happy to give him a dollar or two or a 20,000 dong bill. We filled in the rest of the group and each handed over the equivalent of 1-2 USD. I don't know what would've happened if we hadn't given him money, but I wasn't interested in finding out. It was a small amount. He looked happy and I was happy to not have trouble at the border. Getting stamped out was a breeze and we walked to Laos.
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