... but... Oh-my-God is it ever hot here. We've moved south to Pakse now and I have never in my life been this sweaty and sweltering. It's like a 24 hour sauna, only with sunshine and blue skies and coconut palms swaying in the breeze. The only antidote to this kind of suffering is an icy cold fresh tropical fruit shake. How do people LIVE like this?
In more disturbing news, we had another public bus situation yesterday. The ride to Pakse was a nine-hour marathon of inadequate air conditioning and a battle of wills with the bus attendant who insisted we keep the windows closed (air conditioning, you know.) Eventually a group of Western tourists with weak constitutions (uh, that would be us) mutinized and opened all of the windows in an effort to keep from bursting into flames.
I was enjoying the breeze flowing in through my window, listening to some happy tunes and thinking about how well things were going when the bus lurched to a sudden stop and I felt a horrible thump and a bump. After a few stressful minutes we discovered that the bus had hit a goat. I was initially relieved it wasn't a human, and though I was upset that the goat was hit, I assumed that it at least had died quickly. The bus driver set out to find the owner of the goat, and after a few minutes we were on our way.
During this entire scenario BG was unusually grim and instructed me to "keep [my] earphones in; it's better this way." A few seconds later I found out why: I heard a weak goat-y bleat come from directly beneath us. "What is that?!?!" I shrieked, "Is that goat still alive???" Having searched for the goat's owner and come up empty handed, the bus driver had instead elected to hog-tie the injured goat and put it in the cargo hold directly below us, where the poor creature could only cry out in pain every few seconds... and then every few minutes... and eventually, not at all.
To be fair, the bus driver did this with the intention of driving around the village to find the goat's owner; after about an hour of driving up and down the highway without any luck, he eventually continued on his way, goat and all. I wish I could have done something to help that poor animal, but I had neither the skills nor the courage to do anything except weep in sympathy.
I can only imagine the adventures we'll find on our way to Dong Det. I hope the goats stay away from us.