Vientiane Blood Suckers

Trip Start Dec 26, 2010
1
12
40
Trip End Feb 03, 2011


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Where I stayed
KPP guesthouse

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Arrived in Vientiane at 1pm in my best ever bus seat/trip so far. It was also a stroke of luck that I got transferred from another dodgy Hyundai chicken coop on wheels to a Toyota 12 seater. For three odd hours my legs and bum enjoyed pure bliss. Vientiane was uncomfortably hot and I was quite peeved backpacking a twelve kilo in this heat, looking for a cheap room. I must had possibly done the entire guesthouse circuit before I settled for a US$5 room with shared bathroom - KPP guesthouse right in the heart of backpackers' town. Everywhere else was at least US$12 and above or was full. This danky labyrinthmic guesthouse was basic comfort but infested with mosquitoes.
 
Lunch was a familiar ala carte style dishes with rice around the corner and headed straight to the Laos National Museum. While the exhibitions were rudimentary, the bit that really got my attention was the pre-history of Laos. There were so many discoveries of dinosaur fossils and artifacts of ancient civilisations not recorded in modern history. We are talking about millions of years ancient. Primitive tools, preserved stones, pots and drums displaying symbols and motifs not recorded by modern historians. How fascinating! The exhibitions also cover Plains of Jars and primitive menhirs located at various sites in Laos. The pre-history of Laos (in fact the entire earth) exhibits suddenly jumped to Laos communism exhibits, like you would, a Dan Brown novel. Everything about communism here was like a beam of white light. Then again, we were reminded of french's brutal occupation of Laos and later the American imperialist invasion, although U.S. denies ever stepping foot in Laos during the Vietnam war.
 
On route to Sisaket Temple but missed the closing time at 4pm. A very impressive ancient looking Wat loomed across the street and I had to remind myself to visit tomorrow at its opening times. A sweaty march to the promenade along Mekong River overlooking Thailand, would have been well worth it if only Laos completes the promenade reconstruction sooner. Everywhere I looked on the banks was just mud and construction of a new riverfront. This happened before at the lakes in Hanoi and Dalat, Vietnam.
 
Stopped at a discreet chinese cafe and had a good conversation with the chinese owner about Vientiane, foreign travellers, weather..etc. According to him, taiwanese and singaporeans are a rare sight in Vientiane. About doing business in Laos, money is king, even getting a legal permit for just about everything under the Laotian sun. He complained about why he couldnt get keep a decent Laotian employee because the locals are not interested in working - everyone here is too laid back (or maybe he pays peanuts). [Right at this moment, a bed tick landed and crawled across my diary. It did not survive the journey.]
 
Along the Mekong River promenade, street food stalls had sprung up with their mobile kitchens, tables and even tatami style floor beds and low tables. Menus were the usual bbq fish, pork, chicken and seafood. Some had frogs, still alive in the water bucket. After a meal of fish laap - minced fish with fresh garnishes and salads, I donated blood to a couple of mosquitoes at a chinese internet cafe before finishing the night with some fried dough, spiceless curry puff and a plate of fresh papayas and dragonfruits.
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