Goodbye Cambodia, Hello Laos
Trip Start Mar 21, 2010
144Trip End Mar 16, 2011
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We arrived in Vientiane airport which is very shabby and small and collected our luggage. We caught a taxi (US$6) to the guesthouse we wanted to stay at hoping they would have a room. As we were driving in we thought that this town is so much cleaner than a lot of places we have been to and where is the traffic? and my god there seems to be some order on the roads. What a change. The guesthouse had a room for US$29 per night which was the most expensive we have paid. We couldn’t be bothered walking around the city with our backpacks and in the heat so we grabbed the room. The staff aren’t very friendly. We settled in the room, which was smaller enough to just swing a cat
20 APRIL 2010 - Vientiane is dangerous - too many good French bakeries. Everywhere you look there is a bakery. Vientiane is a very French influenced capital with lots of great bakeries and French mansions. It seems to be an easier place to get around on foot, the roads are cleaner and the footpaths are well maintained. A lot of the locals drive pretty flash cars here, lots of 4WD’s, Mercs, Lexus and all in good condition. After breakfast in the guesthouse which was a “French breakfast” consisting of slices of baguette with jam, butter, juice and fruit. This morning it seemed a bit cooler so it was rather pleasant to walk around. On our way to the “Patuxai - Vientiane’s not so great Arc de Triompe replica” we came across the Morning Markets so we walked around them for a while and once again they seemed to be some sort of order and the stalls seemed neater and you could actually walk around easily, now that is a first
We got to the Patuxai (replica of the Arc de Triompe) and Troy climbed it and Mary couldn’t be bothered and just sat around watching the monks of all ages in their bright orange robes eating icecream. We then caught a tuk tuk (they have fixed prices and aren’t cheap) to get to the “Pha That Luang” - the golden stupa and the most important national monument in Laos. We got there 10 minutes before closing time so we decided to wait 1 hr for them to re-open. We sat around in the park and just relaxed. It was getting really hot now and we were soaked. We finally go into the Pha That Luang and walked around for a while. It was just a big gold monument and didn’t seem to be anything very special. We think the monument looked better from a distance than close up as there isn’t much inside. We caught another tuk tuk to the Lao National History Museum where Mary was bored out of her brains and so hot and bothered and Troy walked around much more interested as Mary really couldn’t give a shit - If you haven’t already guessed I am not one for museums.
On our way home we stopped at the Scandinavian Bakery where we had a late lunch. Mary ordered a chicken sandwich and when it came it was huge. It was 1/2 baguette with satay chicken, lettuce, cucumber and tomato. It was so big that all the staff were looking at me because our reaction to getting it made them laugh. Well I didn’t expect it to be so big.
Vientiane is definitely more expensive, we think that Vietnam was cheapest then Cambodia and Laos but its still cheaper than home
We keep watching the news as who knows if we will get out of Bangkok because of the riots and be able to arrive in Rome because of the volcanic ash - Arrrrr the joys of travelling, we will get to Rome no matter what. As far as we are aware Rome airport is still open and hopefully the riots will calm down by early May.
21 APRIL 2010 - We get up later than normal which is good, we tend to have to many early mornings. After having pineapple pancakes for breakfast at our guesthouse we decide its a slack day today. After talking to Tony via skype we head back to our room to chill out. We both feel pretty worn out, I think the heat is getting to us now. Today and yesterday have been very very hot. In our room and we get a black out so the airconditioning dies so we decide to head out and have lunch at the Joma Bakery, a pretty cool funky bakery and Mary’s favourite so far. Troy digs into a lasagna which looked pretty good and I had mushroom quiche and salad and the best ever banana fruit shake. The fruit shakes throughout Asia are great and some places make the better than others - this bakery makes the best ones I think.
After lunch we went for a walk around for a while checking out a few sights and shops and come across a few old vespas. After a while we decided to come home and watch a DVD which Troy just bought from the local supermarket 10,000 kip (about $1.30) so we will see if it works. The ones we bought in Vietnam have poor sound quality. Tomorrow we head off by bus to Vang Vieng.