Hmm…How About That?! Roadside Justice in Laos

Not 30 seconds into our trip from Don Khon to Don Khong (it’s all in the G) in Laos, a loud “smack!” was heard followed by a scrapping noise running the length of the bus. Those of us with lighting-quick “spidey-senses” (me!) looked up just in time to see something dragging across the upper right side of the bus. After initially wanting to carry on with “business as usual,” the driver gave up his attempt at flight and pulled the bus to the side of the road. Apparently, the “smack!” came from a set of mattresses standing in the back of a parked flatbed truck that were hanging over the edge and into the way of on coming traffic (our bus). As could be expected, the owner of the mattresses was none too pleased, though he found little sympathy from the driver who felt it was himself who had been wronged. An argument ensued, with the mattress owner clearly looking for some sort of compensation for his damaged merchandise. It looked like the situation had reached an impasse when a police officer arrived on seen to see justice fairly and equitably delivered. So did the driver pay the mattress owner? No! Instead he paid the police officer to look the other way, and off we went shortly thereafter. Looking at the winners and losers of this situation, we’ve got: The driver paying money (loser), the damaged mattress owner (loser), the delayed passengers (losers), and the police officer who did nothing and walked away with cash in hand (winner). Voila, justice in Laos! What else can you say but, “hmm… how about that?!”


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