After an excruciating 48 hours, I am back in the land of the living. Thank god for that. Thank god also that my illness was bookended by travel days, rather than falling square on them.
Of course, what that means is that I saw almost nothing of the gorgeous landscape around Vang Vieng, but them's the breaks.
A note to travelers en route from Vientiane/Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang: I cannot imagine a possible scenario in which the so-called "sleeper" bus would be a good idea. There's a reason it takes 7 hours to travel 180 km. The roads are serpentine, sure, and that's part of it, but they are also terrible (and I travelled them at their best - long enough after the rainy season that most repairs have been done). I mean bone-jarringly bad. You could definitely catch a few zzzzz, but nothing like a night's sleep. Plus the scenery is pretty spectacular (though admittedly, I was feeling so rotten on my travel days that my eyes were closed for a lot of it).
So now I'm here in Luang Prabang, and it's as pretty as they say (UNESCO world heritage site and all that). That said, I don't think I need the 3 days I've got here. But considering that I've changed my flight twice (at this point, the amended date is written in pen on a print-out with a stamp that I guess is supposed to make it official), I'm not sure I want to press my luck by going for three.