Vientiane - A city but not a city as we know it

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good Afternoon all!

Sorry for the constant blog updates but we are trying to catch up before we meet our mates in The Philippines! 

The bus journey from Pakse to Vientiene was an experience to say the least. First of all it was freezing as the a/c was on full blast. What is it about Asians and full blast air cons? Secondly we were on the top bunk of a double bed. When I say double bed I really mean a bed and a half as they are built for Asians in mind. Thirdly there was nothing to hold you in so when the bus turned corners you had to hold on for dear life! Last but not least was that the lights went out at 20:30 so it was an early night for us! One word of warning to any single travellers out there. If you do this journey on a night bus they will make you share a bed with anyone they see fit so be prepared to REALLY get to know your fellow travellers! 

We got to Vientiene at about 06:30. In the tuk tuk to the centre of town we met an English couple. Jo is from Doncaster and Sean is from Brum. Small world we thought until it turns out that Sean went to the same Primary school as me and we have a mutual friend. Even smaller world! We decided to go to the same guesthouse and have breakfast together a theme that would eventually last for 11 days! 

After a couple of kips (hey, when in Laos do as the Laostians do) we had a walk about town. We really liked the feel of the place. We knew that there are prettier towns awaiting us but we still enjoyed Vientiene. Typical of Laos it is probably the most laid back capitol city in the world. In fact it did not feel like a city at all. If you are not pushed for time Vientiene is worth a visit if only for a day or two. Over to my fellow beer drinker…

Beer Lao Beer Lao, and to think that 6 months ago I didn’t even like beer! 

We decided to explore Vientiene on bike with our new found friends. So we cycled along the Asian ‘Champs Elysees’ past the Laos version of Arc de Triomphe onto our first destination, a gorgeous temple called Pha That Luang. 

We stopped to rest in the temple grounds which had an interesting combination of beautiful buildings and benches sponsored by Knorr and Lux. Not quite in keeping with the beatific surroundings. As we chilled out on the grass we were approached by an elderly man who offered us mats to sit on. He wasn’t doing it for money, rather he recognized the importance of a comfortable rest. The more horizontal we became the more cushions he threw our way. This is one of the great things about Laos. Despite it being one of the poorest countries in the world, the locals are happy and satisfied. They enjoy interacting with foreigners without an underlying expectation of making a dollar or two which is a rarity in Asia. 

 It’s such a coincidence that 6 months to the day we were walking along the real Champs Elysees in Paris. Yes we’ve been on the road for 6 months already. It seems like a lifetime ago while at the same time it’s also flown by. Paul and I panicked at the thought of our trip ending in 6 months time (greedy or what?!) so we’ve slashed our budget to try and make it last another year. 
After the relatively tranquil two days in the country’s capital our next port of all would prove to be anything but. 
More on that when we get there!
Lots of loveKaren and Paulxxxx
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mom on

another fantastic read keep it up and stay safe xx

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