Almost 21 hours on the bus catapult me from the cold north of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the hot south of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Hardly bearable without sleeping pills. Actually, it should have been only 19 hours, and the fact that the three of us end up in a damn slow bus from the border to Savannakhet instead of a fast minibus as promised surely has to do with an unofficial increase in the salary of our driver, who had taken us to and across the border in Vietnam. So now I’m in tiny, sleepy Savannakhet. I want to spend the next few days lazily on an island in the Mekong in the very south of the country, to relax from Vietnam and the bus trip.