“Mom stop bugging me I’m sleeping” was my first though this morning. One of the sleeper bus workers was yanking on my pillow and talking to me in Lao, motioning that Tori and I needed to get off the bus NOW. He was being rude and rushing us. We were 1/2 asleep and extremely disorientated, so it took us a few seconds to realize we were the last people on the bus. We had been so sound asleep that everyone else had packed everything up and gotten off already. Panicking, as the man was still telling us to get off in another language, we quickly packed our stuff up in a hurried mess and got off. Hair astray, eye mask probably still on, pillow in hand, we grabbed our giant backpacks and sat on the curb. The bus drove away. We were cracking up at the fact that somehow we had slept in later than everyone else when I suddenly thought “where’s my phone?”
Panic, unpack backpack, repack backpack, check again….it’s on the bus.
I left it on the sleeper bus.
As the man had corralled us off in a hurry I forgot it. The bus was gone and I had no idea what to do. I started asking the Tuk Tuk drivers for help- trying to tell them “I left my phone on the bus” and they kept responding “just wait here, your van comes soon just wait.” They thought I was panicking about our next bus, they didn’t understand anything I was saying. “English?” I asked. They motioned lazily over to their friend. I went to him and tried again, showing him my bus ticket. He pulled out his phone and called the bus station’s office, no answer. I was going to give up. He said “sorry, office is 2 km away.” I asked another Tuk Tuk driver how long I had until the next bus- he said about an hour. Thus began a wild goose chase around the Laos town of Pakse. I hopped on a Tuk Tuk, and we went to the bus station office. The office told me the bus was getting gas somewhere before heading back to Vientiane. Back on the Tuk Tuk- the man at the office yelled “BUS 3333!” as we were driving away. We passed by our first gas station, no 3333. Next gas station, no 3333. Third gas station, no 3333……until we saw the last bus. 3333 in big writing on the front, I hopped off the Tuk Tuk and ran inside. A man was cleaning the bus, and in his hand was MY PHONE. What. A. Miracle.
The Tuk Tuk driver vastly overcharged me, but in comparison to buying a new phone: I couldn’t care less. Back to the curb where I left Tori, I arrived just in time to catch our next bus. Off to the 4,000 islands we went, my phone happily in hand.
(Also, the 4,000 islands are pure and utter bliss. Only 1/2 a day here and I’m already in love with the mint-lemonades, hammocks, and breathtaking sunsets.)