It may be a sleepy town, but....

Trip Start Oct 31, 2012
Trip End Dec 12, 2012

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vientiane -- pronounced "Vieng Chan" by the locals, but spelled as such by the French -- is quite a sleepy "town" for being a nation's capital with a population of 750,000.  The old part of town, where almost all of the tourist sites are located, is easy to get around on foot...if you can bear the heat.  As I started out on my journey, I noticed that all the sites were closed, even though it wasn't lunchtime, so thought I'd try again in the late afternoon, but things were still closed, so gave up.  

While I wandered the streets looking for open sites, fellow tourists were, for the most part, very friendly.  Everyone I talked to is doing the same, exact trip through Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos).  We swapped information with one another, and wished one another good luck.  There was one woman I met who is also from San Francisco, and has been traveling throughout Southeast Asia for five months, with at least two months to go.  She told me she is on such a budget that she can't spend more than $10/night on a hotel; I don't know why she felt the need to tell me this.  (Since she isn't a buff, young Asian guy, there was no need to tell her about Sugar Daddy, who is somewhere in the city.)  I felt sorry for one Australian guy I met because he was without money -- his ATM card wasn't working at any of the machines.  (I've been in that situation before, and you start to feel desperate.  No, it isn't because you didn't have money in your bank account to begin with, but your card isn't being recognized by the various bank networks, even if your bank is part of them.  And it gets even worse when the cash reserve you do have onhand starts getting used up.)  He was walking up and down all the streets, trying out all the ATMs, and there are tons of them.  (I don't think he was Sugar Daddy's type either.)  The locals were also very friendly, mostly trying to get me to hire them as a tuk-tuk driver, but there was the one local who had to let me know that Grindr -- a popular phone app in the US for gay men looking for Mr, Right NOW -- was also very popular with the locals.  He then pulled out his phone and showed me all the Vientiane profiles that were online at that very moment, and there sure were plenty.  (I didn't see Sugar Daddy's profile on it, but then he already had his NOW with him.) 

With the sites apparently closed, and the heat getting to me, I spent the rest of the day in my hotel room, seated under the air conditioner and being lazy.    

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