The next day we rented a motorbike and headed about 30 KM outside of the city to Buddha Park
. Buddha Park is a sculpture park containing lots of bizarre cement buddhist and hindu sculptures. It was built in the 50s by a priest. The two most notable sculptures are a 40 foot long reclining buddha, and a massive pumpkin-like structure that you can climb up tp get a full view of the park. The pumpkin has 3 stories representing earth heaven and hell. On our way back we stopped at Wok Sok Pa Luang for the meditation session. Led by a monk, this is aan hour long session that consists of two 20 minute sitting meditations and one 20 minute walking meditation. The highlight was probably the woman taking pictures of the monks meditating the whole time. Then, when someone tried to complain about the picture taking woman, the head monk told her that she must not meditate very often if the snapping of the camera bothered her.
That evening we had a beer and watched the sun set over the Mekong. Vientiane has a lot of french influence, and has several very nice french restaurants at a fraction of the price they would be in other cities. We went to La Silapa and had one of the best meals we've had on the trip.
The next day we rented bikes and pedaled around the city. We visited the Patuxai a local rendition of the Arc de Triomphe. Then we went to Pha That Luang, the national symbol of Laos and the most importatant relgious site. It is a golden 3 story stupa. Lindsey went inside, but Sarah was a bit templed-out and sat in the shade. Then we went and had traditional Laos massages before boarding our overnight bus to 4000 Islands.
We arrived in the evening in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and found the cheapest hotel room we could. Another jail cell! We met up with Tommy and Ash for a final goodbye dinner- they had arrived the day before and were heading south the following morning. We went down to the water and ate some street food and drank a few Beerlaos. Then we headed to another bar and sat until they kicked us out at 11:30. Laos has a national curfew of midnight, so businesses must be closed by 11:30 to allow people time to get home. However, a few bars catering to tourists find a way around the law. We were going to ask a tuk tuk driver- they usually know what is open- until we ran into two american girls with a lonely planet. The book had a few late night recommendations, so we found a bar that was still open upstairs. We stayed for an hour or two and then headed back.