A little higher end

Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
Trip End Apr 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel $57.00

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Viangchan,
Sunday, February 14, 2010

The next stop on our journey was in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Not much to do here except enjoy what is probably the safest, most laid back, and friendly capital city in the world.  All bars, restaurants and clubs must close by 11:30 PM.  This made no difference to us, but certainly reinforced just how quiet this city is.

"Lay back" for sure, but with great restaurants, quality spas, boutique hotels and high-end shops.  All of which results from the French who rebuilt and settled this city at the end of the 19th century. We found that French surpassed English as the most common foreign language spoken in the restaurants and shops, due to the large numbers of French tourists.

In Vientiane we had the most upscaled hotel of our entire trip.  Also, enjoyed some of the best French restaurants.  Remember, I still owed Karyn from our 3 day motorcycle trip and cave experience.

I figured I was being the greatest husband in the world until the hotel manger asked Karyn if she got roses for Valentines Day.    Opps, I forgot.   I knew that Feb 14 is Tet and Chinese New Years, but I forgot it was Valentines Day.  Oh well, I am sure I have other qualities.  If you can think of any, please let me know so as I can share this information with Karyn

Our bus ride to Vientiane was first class.  Karyn was pretty proud of the bus she booked us on.  I do not think there was a bigger bus in all of Laos.  But I knew it was going to be long ride, when she started giving me detailed instructions about to make sure you do not get fooled when booking transportation.  She did get a lot quieter however, after our bus broke down and we were stranded on the side of the road for 90 minutes.  Somehow the bus driver, one of the passengers, and couple of mechanics, or would be mechanics, got the bus going again and we continued on our journey.  It all added to the adventure of the day.

With not much to do in Vientiane, I took time to get a hair cut.  Language is always a bit of a problem, and after my experience with a barber cutting off half my beard in Vietnam, I was extra careful with my instructions.  I explained to the barber, in my very best sign language, that I wanted my hair nice and short, and not to touch the beard.  Well I guess, “short” is in the eye of the beholder….Or else she just got new high-powered electric clippers and didn't quite know how to operate them.  Whatever, one swipe from above my left ear, across the top of head to my right ear, left a 2-inch bald spot running across the middle of my head.  There was no turning back after that.  These shears must have been razor sharp as within a few seconds almost all my hair was gone.  All I need now is an orange sheet, and with this hair cut I would look very similar to the other Monks on the street.  Karyn says it looks pretty good, but she cannot keep herself from laughing whenever she says this.

 We did get to see some Tet Celebrations (Vietnamese New Years) while in Laos.  Really enjoyed that, and now I am even more convinced that we made a mistake not staying in Vietnam to witness this holiday celebration.  Music and dancing and costumes.  But what we really found interesting was the custom of giving money.  It was quite a sight to see money being thrown from a second floor balcony to people on the street below.

Not much else to write about our time in Vientiane.  Enjoyed great restaurants, stayed in a beautiful hotel with a fantastic view overlooking the Mekong River, met some interesting people, safely wandered through the well-maintained neighborhoods, etc.  Everything was very nice (except for the haircut).  Probably, many peoples idea of a perfect vacation.  And we enjoyed it too, for 3 or 4 days.  After that we found it just plain boring; nothing new happening to stimulate the senses.  Each day we were experiencing the same thing as the day before.

Looking forward to our next stop in Vang Vieng Laos.  I know it will be quite a change from Vientiane.   
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