Being flexible and learning to read the signs
Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
163Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
But for now, what you get are more ramblings about my travel day.
Up at 5am, shower and take a tuk-tuk to the airport for the 6am check-in and 7h30 flight to Savannakhet. With an hour to kill before boarding I grab a bite to eat. Then back to boarding. Walk to the plane. Get my seat. SWEET! I get the exit row. Lots of leg room to stretch out. AWESOME! No seat partner. BONUS! The flight attendant is gorgeous and smiling at me all the time. Yes, she's just being nice. But it wouldn't be the same having the male flight attendant smiling at me.
The flight leap frogs Savannakhet and lands in Pakse. After a half hour we continue on to Savannakhet. I arrive at 10am. Show the tuk-tuk driver the guest house I want to stay at that's listed in the Lonely Planet guide. He indicates he knows it. I end up somewhere else. At a different hotel that's not listed. Oh well! First time I don't pre-book a room.
Check-in. Unpack a few things then go wander around town. After 6 hours of wandering I've seen 2 other non-Asians. Stopped in at a small cafe for lunch and some free internet. I buy some postcards and stamps there. The owner offers me a pen to fill out the postcards. I decline stating I want to walk around some more. Will come back later with my iPad. I have to catch up on my blog.
My throat is really starting to bother me. I find a pharmacy and buy some cough suppressant and throat lozenges. As I wander I've been trying to decide what to do. I feel like crap and my plan is to be here for only a couple days and then grab a bus to the coast in Vietnam. Then it's a 20 hour ride or so to Ho Chi Minh. While I was in the Cafe at lunch time I was reading a Laos tourism magazine. Air Laos now has a flight to Ho Chi Minh from Pakse. Maybe staying here a few extra days and then flying to Ho Chi Minh might be a better idea. I'll wait and see. That plan would be a better use of my time then sitting in a bus or in a train for that many hours. Besides, I really like this place. The people are all so friendly saying "Sabai-Dee" (Hello) whenever I walk by. The kids are especially cute. They even seem to know more english and want to practice it.
In the cafe, at lunch, I was also reading a business magazine. This region of Laos is part of a trade zone that stretches from Myanmar in the west to the coast of Vietnam. The "superhighway" being built allows the flow of goods. I read about the local ethnic groups that produce some amazing silk products and start thinking of various export business ventures. The magazine describes the investment potential, taxes and benefits of foreign companies setting up shop here. I see the upside in getting in on the ground floor.
I take a break in my room, grab my iPad and take a walk back to the cafe. It's closed. I wander back to a main road near my hotel and stumble across the iLounge. It's a restaurant/internet cafe owned by an ex-pat Canadian from Vancouver. The business has been in operation for less than a year. He was here about 7 years ago, all the roads were still un-paved. He saw the potential in this town and decided to open this place with a local partner. They've been really busy since they've opened. The place is filled by English speaking ex-pats and travelers who are hearing about the place by word of mouth.
I spend the evening there catching up on my blogs. As I'm leaving I get a phone call from Nao. Actually it's from Pitk. She's heading to Vientiane for a cousin's wedding and wants me to join her. Unfortunately, I tell her, I'm no longer there. I think I broke a couple hearts in Luang Prabang. I also spoke with Nao. She wants me to come back. I don't give her an answer one way or the other.
It's time for bed. I need some rest if I'm going to get rid of this cold.
Love to all!