Did I say awful? I meant freakin' awesome!!! The sleeper bus was very nearly completely great fun. The only drawback was the squat toilet (which I could live with) being blocked (which I couldn't). Fun Fun. Thankfully we stopped at a mid-way bus station at 12.30am and I found the toilets (after walking in the wrong direction for a few hundred metres). These cost a whopping 1000 kip to use, which I did not have, so I owe a nice tourist somewhere some money. So on your super spensive VIP express bus monster, you get a small double bed - we got the ground floor - a pillow and a super warm and cosy doona in lovely Lao yellow with butterfly stitching. Aside from the size, it's the best bedding we've had the whole trip. You also get an amusing bus attendant handing out chocolate Lactosoy drink boxes, little cakes in packets (twinkies?) and water bottles, and cracking onto our good-looking companions from Chile. Chilenos are nice people! Here is a photo of one named Elena (Mariella is behind her in the dark).
Preparing ourselves for a sparse plank of wood and nothing else, Paul and I stuffed our daypack with jumpers, socks, beanies, water bottles, pringles and chuppa chups, but didn't need any of them. Here is a photo of Paul, wearing a head torch that we also didn't use.
At the moment we're spending too much money on food in order to get free wi-fi (again) as we have to wait for our room to be cleaned. We arrived in Vientiane at 6am, just before sunrise and caught a truck bus thing into town. I don't know the name of it yet, but it's a truck with a big tray that has been fitted out with two wooden bench seats and a roof. Good fun and not a rip off which was pretty amazing. Of course not a lot was open and all the guest houses are full. The room we found is pretty dingy but we'll probably only stay two nights before heading to Vang Vieng. Here is a photo taken from the truck bus of the sunrise in Vientiane.
I'll take the free wi-fi opportunity to say that Pakse is a hole and I don't know why people stop there!! We walked around for 3-4 hours whilst waiting for our sleeper bus, ate some food, used some internet and it wasn't very pretty and was a bit smelly and there was nothing to see, except for this kid goat creature, which, despite being out of focus, is still very cute.