Sába̖ai-di̖i, khàwp ja̖i & Sôhk dii

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Sabadee Guest House

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, July 1, 2010

i.e. Hello, Thank you & Goodbye

The day hadn't started too well. Somehow the super strength mosquito repellent (famous amongst the back packing fraternity for its ability to remove nail varnish) had obviously leaked on to our toothbrushes, so being the first up to shower I ended up with a mouth that felt like I had felt the urge for a morning gargle with bleach (unless Andrew really thought my breath was that bad).  After swallowing what felt like a litre of water I still couldn’t feel my tongue but we had to finish packing our bags and catch our 8.30am bus to Vientiane the capital of Laos.

We had, of course, chosen the cheapest option in terms of transportation, none of the VIP air conditioned lunch included coaches for us, oh no, our bus appeared to be welded together and had a huge crack in the windscreen, oh and ventilation was achieved by leaving the bi fold door open.  We were joined on the bus by a group of Irish lads who all appeared to be sporting differing degrees of drinking injury and were clearly all still smashed.  One of them even resorted to sitting on the bus step in case he needed to vom.

Fortunately, unlike the bus to El Nido, the journey was vomitless and we got through a few good episodes of Family Guy on the IPod undisturbed.  The scenery along the way was lovely, lots of mountain peaks swathed in cloud.  After three hours we arrived in Vientiane and realised that instead of being dropped off at a bus station a tuk tuk ride away from town, we were in the heart of backpackersville.  We arrived at the guest house which we had earmarked in the guidebook only to find that it was closed and looked like a derelict building, so after we enquired at some of the other guesthouses and hostels along the street which were all full, I was horrified to be forced to stay in one that seemed not much better than the first.  Note to self: Never let Andrew view a room again while I wait downstairs with the bags.  It appeared that the top floor of this guesthouse, which of course our room was on, had been added on so aside from the corrugated roof it had a set of wooden stairs that were so steep and uneven that even the owner slipped on her way down.

We dumped the bags in our pea green concrete walled room and went for a walk to explore the local area and get something to eat.  We happened upon the Scandinavian bakery and had some amazing tsatsiki and bread then omelette and ham and egg muffins I resisted the urge to plunder the cake cabinet somehow though everything looked delicious.  All the female customers stopped by to have one last wanting look before they left the cafe.  Andrew Edit – I think Erica has neglected to say I was sat somewhere near the cake cabinet so perhaps they were looking at me!

The air-conditioning was an added benefit to the food and the WI-FI so we made our water last and booked our hotel for our first night in Cambodia.  We are increasingly finding ourselves loitering around anywhere that has air con as it is so humid outside, we have wasted hours in SE Asia wandering around mobile phone shops and looking at water coolers and rice cookers in so many electrical stores.

I set out with so many good intentions of visiting some of the main tourist sites in Vientiane but to be honest we were still aching from the tubing and weary from the hot bus ride so we ducked out of any sightseeing and were quite disappointed with the little bit of Vientiane that we saw.  There seemed to be a lot of building work going on along the river which put us off walking any further and watching the sunset.  Instead we got a table at Nazim’s Indian Restaurant and had a Chicken Tikka Massala with garlic naan which I can highly recommend.

Sadly I would have liked to see more of Vientiane but as we were catching a 6.30am flight to Siem Riep in Cambodia tomorrow we had to get an early night.  Perhaps Louang Prabang spoiled it for us, as its such a beautiful quaint little place with stunning architecture whilst Vientiane just seemed like just another SE Asian city, albeit with a few less tuk tuks and mopeds but that was offset by some major building work.  
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Stevie Q on

OK, back to reality, Vientiene was a hole a decade ago as well. Can't wait to see what you can find over the border - out of my knowledge zone

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