From the Nation's Capital - Vientiene Laos

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, December 20, 2003

If every tourist in Laos bought five-hundred scarves there would still be at least two left for each and every citizen.

Guide books are an absolute necessity for the kind of travel that we do. They are the road map for our overall travel plan. We're staying at the guide book recommended Haysoke Guest House in Vientiene. The walls are paper thin and the air inside reeks of Chinese cooking. Yes guide books are a necessity but, almost everything you read in them should be taken with a grain of salt.

Ellen was ill. She crawled into bed and stayed there. The scent of burned cooking oil drove me into the streets. Our area reminded me of Toronto's Sherbourne and Dundas, without the junkies and hookers. At 8:00 p.m. I held my nose, walked back into our room at The Haysoke and pulled the covers over my head. Two hours later I woke up, ran to the toilet and threw up. This continued, accompanied by fever and chills throughout the night.

When you can't sleep, the mind starts to wander - or in my case compare. Who was the best, Gretzky or Orr? Which gets the whites whiter, Tide or Cheer? Then I started categorizing the traveler. It seems to me that couples are the largest group. They are followed closely by singles; single females definitely out weigh single males. There are however quite a few 60+ single males. Almost all travelers are somewhat reserved or introverted. Almost no one speaks of the work that they do when they aren't travelling. Most have only a general travel plan - they follow their noses day to day. At some point I stopped thinking and fell into a deep sleep. When we awoke in the morning both Ellen's and my belly jitters had vanished, but The Haysoke smelled the same.

We'd been stuck here in Vientiene trying to get visas for Myanmar. Once we got the visas we found that all flights were sold out until after Christmas. So we moved to Plan B; Ko Chang, an island in the Gulf of Thailand, near the Cambodian border. Myanmar would just have to wait.
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