Vientiane - a quiet capital

Trip Start Oct 16, 2009
Trip End Nov 15, 2009

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Monday, October 26, 2009

26th October - Vientiane

Obviously a night bus is not the best place to catch a good night's sleep. I did catch some shut-eye though so the 11 hours it took from Luang Prabang back down to Vientiane went relatively quickly. But when I arrived in Vientiane at 7.30 a.m. all I wanted to do was find a bed and sleep a few more hours! It took some searching though, the guesthouse of my choice had become much more expensive; another one didn't have a room until another hour and a half. The third place was not cheap either (US$25, Vayakorn) but very comfortable and posh, with aircon and tv which I don't need, but I didn't feel like looking any further. So I chose that one, and slept a few more hours until 10 or so.

Meeting up with Thai girl Al
You remember that I had gotten acquainted with quite a few Thai and other lesbians through the internet before I travelled here. One of them was a Thai girl from Bangkok, named Al, who now works in Vientiane temporarily. So we arranged to meet up. She has an Icelandic girlfriend, it would have been nice to meet her too but she's in Iceland at the moment.
I had brunch at Joma's Cafe (yes that one with the great coffee and nice decor) and met up with Al there. We walked around town a bit, she doesn't know it that well yet either.
She works for her father's business in Bangkok but now she works in Vientiane temporarily. We also went to her office where she asked some colleagues to help out on how I could best buy my onward bus ticket. She even arranged for some guys to take me to the bus terminal 9km out of town to buy a ticket.
In the end it I could not buy a bus ticket in advance, they told me there were plenty of buses and I should just buy on the day I wanted to leave. So those guys of Al's office had driven out for nothing, basically and I felt a bit embarassed.

That afternoon Al went back to work and I wandered around town a bit but it's not a very welcoming, pleasant city, just widespread and smelly (at first sight at least). It's crawling with expats: foreigners working and living here. Lots of white people in suits, with laptops.
Also a few dubious couples: white old ugly guy + young pretty Asian woman, sometimes + child.

Fantastic massage
So I decided to - why not... - have another massage. This one was fantastic. It was at Champa Spa (highly recommended), a little more expensive than the usual ones but still dirt cheap: 115.000 kip for 90 minutes, so about 10 euros. The place looked very posh, in a dark wooden and sculptures sort of way. I had opted for the herbal traditional Lao massage. This involved sacks of herbs being heated in what seemed like a rice steamer pan. This time I got to wear not surf shorts, but a full length soft cotton suit, long legs and long sleeves. The masseuse was a small stocky lady with a friendly face of about 45 years old. She had an expert's touch and was very focussed and concentrated and seemed to enjoy her work. It started out with the usual pressure points and her sitting on top of me and stretching my limbs in all kinds of weird directions. Then out came the herbal warm sacks which she applied first shortly (still too hot), then let lie on my limbs. The herbs smelled lovely. All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable massage and of course this lady did get a tip.

That evening I had dinner with the Thai girl Al. We talked about this and that and it was fun to hear some more about her, and (lesbian) life in Asia in general. I made some mistake ordering dinner and ended up with what seemed to be snacks / side dishes or fried fish and cashew nuts. At the restaurant a Lao duo was playing live music and singing familiar easy-listening songs in English. I am sure the lady was a lesbian. :-)

After saying goodbye to Al I watched some Lao, Thai and English tv, read my book, and slept like a baby.

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