Visas and Buddhas

Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
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15
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Trip End Mar 21, 2011


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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then at noon took a tuk tuk to the Thai Embassy to pick up our passports. We realized that the Thai Embassy is the first embassy we have ever been to. When we arrived around 12:30, there was already a line up to pick up passports. We waited in the hot sun until 1 pm and then made a mad dash along with everyone else to pick up our passports. I've noticed over the last 5 months that line ups really don't mean much outside of North America. Everyone just rushes ahead. Getting the passports was a bit chaotic, but we succeeded in retrieving them within an hour, which isn't too bad. When we take the train back to Thailand, we will be able to stay for the full month of February without having to worry about a visa run or penalties.

From the embassy, we walked back to the area that we are staying in. A lady in line from Thailand had told us that the Pizza Company had the best pizza - even better than Pizza Hut in the US! We were originally going to have burgers, but the shop turned out to be a roadside stall, which we thought was a bit sketchy. So we ended up at the Pizza Company which we stumbled upon. It turned out to have delicious pizza - probably the best we've had so far, but some of the worst Pepsi! After lunch, we grabbed our books and read in a garden restaurant until the evening.

In the evening, we had drinks along the river with a fellow traveler and then met up with another lady for dinner.

Today (Wednesday), we were woken up by Buddhist chanting and drumming from the wat across the street. There is something special going on at the wat with monks and nuns from Cambodia and someone said Burma, congregating there. Quite a unique way to wake up!

After breakfast this morning, we went to the Buddha Park which is 25 km outside of the city. We walked for about 20 minutes to the bus station and then found the number 14 bus. The bus took about an hour to get to the park. This was our first time taking a public bus in Asia and it went off without a hitch.

The Buddha Park is quite a strange place. It is a park in the middle of nowhere that is full of different Buddhist (and I think possibly Hindu) statues. We wandered around in the afternoon sun and really enjoyed ourselves. We then crossed the road and caught another bus back to town. Total cost of this excursion was 33,000 kip or $4! It was worth every kip.

The highlights of Vietiane were getting our Thailand visas for free and the Buddha park.

Tomorrow we start our tour down to the very south of Laos. The internet in the capital hasn't been the greatest, so I'm guessing that it is going to decline as we travel further south.
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Comments

Marg Bax on

Hi Jeff & Dana, I am so enjoying your travels & seeing some of the wonderful sights you have seen, am so disappointed when I don't see a new posting but guess Internet access is not so available in some of the more rural areas. Spoke to Jay yesterday, she is getting excited about the upcoming trip & seeing you in a few days. Sure hope that fish tasted better than it looked Jeff
Love you both. from Granma

Jeff on

Hey granma, the Internet has been terrible so far in Laos. Luckily pretty much everything else has been good including that fish. It's no rainbow but it tasted pretty good. Thailand and Vietnam should have more regular Internet access I think.

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