.... er no! Stiff, hassled by insistant black market money changers tapping at the windows the driver finally waddled along and told us to get out of the van and walk accross the border, along with the locals taking carts of cabbages, washing powder and cages of chickens. Signed out of Vietnam sweating a bit, praying that the guards didn´t want to look in our shoes where we had hidden the pile of unspent Dong that we were illegally taking out of the country (we were coming back to Vietnam anyway). A quick trip on the back of some more motos (desperately trying to be jettisoned off the back with the weight of our rucksacks) and then climb aboard the local bus ... the one with no windows ... the moving antique ... the one that was just about to drive along the pot hole and boulder riddled dirt track. I think they call this character building.
Bumped our way along the road past yellowing paddy fields and clearings in the vegatation where there were huts on stilts made from wood and reeds ... and in some cases bomb and shell casings and bits of tanks – for we were near the Ho Chi Min trail, where even now there are unexploded bombs and rusting planes in the jungle. We had seen many villages in Asia, but these must have been the most simplistic so far, almost completely untouched by modern life it seemed. The coming of the bus was seemingly the highlight of the day. If you were catching the bus, then you were the boy that done good, and the whole village came out to wave you goodbye. The bus stops ... a 6 year old boy stands there smoking a fag, looking cool and unphased. Another stop ... people selling bundles of sugar cane tied up with reeds; a live squeeling guinee-piggy-thingy suspended from one leg reaching up desperately to release itself; what am I bid for this cardboard like weasel in the latter stages of rigamortis, frozen in a state of shock – ´where did that car come from?´. Young girls sticking their tongues out at us. The inside of the bus now over-run by people selling chicken gonads ... on a stick. Yes ... the blind old woman with the opium pipe will have one. We continue. A lone boy standing on the side of the dirt track wearing a Manchester United top (everywhere in Asia ... everywhere .... `I am from England` I say, ´ooo!´ they say, ´Manchester United´).
We continue. Almost 24 hour journey now. I am tired and dusty. Water starts to leak from the window, dripping on my shirt. ´Those water containers on the roof are leaking´, I think. It stops. It starts again. ´Must be sloshing all over the place´, I think. Hang on ... this smells ... what the heck do they have in those containers. Probably fishy stagnant water ... great! Hang on, there´s someone on the roof, surely they´re not holding on with one hand and holding their willy with the other ... no, no, that´s rediculous, it´s far too dangerous. It smells, smells farmiliar but I just can´t ... We stop. They begin to unload things off the roof, packages made of woven reeds. Suddenly Andrea begins to burst into histerics next to me, and, as I look down to look at the package, I see the dust darken in an ever growing circle ... and then ...
´OH ... MY ... GOD!`
... a little snout pokes out through a whole and starts to oink ...
´A PIG has just PISSED on me! EEeerrrrrrrrrrr!´