Welcome to Laos

Trip Start Jan 01, 2013
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Trip End Jan 21, 2013


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, Louangphabang,
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Being on holidays makes me wake up so early! Once again I'm waiting at the airport this time headed to UNESCO World Herritage sight, Luang Prabang.

Last night, I touched down in Vientiane where it was surprisingly cool. The airport is tiny. The cash exchange booth consists of a wooden drawer behind the counter stuffed with notes from all over the place and a calculator. The guy looked a bit annoyed when I wanted to cash some travellers cheques and he had to boot up his ancient pc to process it!

I made a friend while waiting for the flight, a kiwi gym instructor who lives in Vientiane with her hubby. She gave me her card so that we can meet up when I come back through on my way home :) It was good to chat with a (kind of) local! She offered to take me to some good restaurants and bars. Apparently there are heaps of Aussies and Kiwis here due to mining.

Slightly scary moment last night (Bec I'm thinking of you as I write this- knowing you will be one of the few people who actually read this and knowing the expression you would be wearing as you read it!!) when my taxi driver wanted me to go to a 'party' at his brothers house before taking me to my hotel.....(Eek- alarm bells!!) I had to politely but firmly decline several times. It made me aware of how on my own I am...but i got to the hotel safely! (Phew!)

That said, its different here to Thailand. I was hard pressed finding a taxi at the airport and when I did it was one flat rate of $7US (expensive by regular standards here, but easy). People aren't pushy or rude whatsoever. In fact, they literally couldn't be more relaxed. Someone was actually asleep behind the information desk!!

My hotel was like being in wooden bazaaro land. Half traditional wooden hotel, half museum of ancient artefacts. The lift was broken, everything creaked but what it lacked in modern amenities, it made up for in charm. Unfortunately there was a club next door and my balcony was basically next to theirs. Luckily Laos nightlife isn't all that wild and it all closed at midnight. I slept so well! I can't tell you how good a shower is after 16 hours of travelling! It had a great view of the Mekong river across the road (dry now) and I caught the tail end of the night markets, also just across the road. People were smiley and friendly, chatting with everybody.

I woke up so early this morning and found a cafe. I tried coconut pancake which was literally the size of a dinner plate and about 2cm thick. About 20 mins later the maple syrup came out in true relaxed Laos style but I had eaten about 6 bites and was full by then! I briefly explored a local temple. Some crazed one eyed dog started jumping on me and barking... I didn't stay long.

Finally I checked out, put my huge pack on and explored until I could walk no more. I hailed a tuk tuk and practiced my Laotion. I bargained 10 000 kip off the 50 000 asked (only about $1 discount, but half of what the hotel charged) but he understood some of what I was saying as Lao so I was happy! ('You speak Lao...I like you!' Haha)

I've met the nicest people who have given me lots of tips and even the number of a cousin who can help me figure out how to ride a motorbike here!

This afternoon when I get to LP I think I will hire a bicycle and explore :) (for those if you who know me well.... this is a big deal!)
wish me luck navigating the traffic!
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Comments

Rebecca on

BIANCA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clare on

OMG!!! I also am disgusted by your scary moment and can picture Bec's expression. That's horrible. Stay safe! You sound like you're having a great time though. xxx

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