Vientiane, capital of Laos, population: ± 754.000
Day XXIV – April 11
I survived Vang Vieng, and am about to find my way back to the real world.
No more free buckets, or whiskey shots forced down my throat, no more “What is the aim of the game?! TO GET FUCKED UP!” No more Friends or Family Guy, no more dry-season tubing, or supertasty but wet with grease sandwiches.
Those 2 UK’s we met the last day in Luang Prabang; they got jobs here, they’re going to get stuck for months…
And as we make our way down out of the wonderous limestone landscape, the busride once again zones me out to a place in mind where I plan my homecoming – or rather: my next trip, where I will see all those hits I’ve heard so many good things about, but can’t fit in this time.
Sabaidii!! You just cannot say without smiling. No way this will be my last 24 hours in Laos!
Some bumpy roads and I’m flipping cards on future destinations.
I am suddenly having doubts about where to go next. Do as I planned: Hanoi, Da Nang, Hoi An; or, no more Vietnam, but more Laos and stay out my visa: Kong Lo cave, Pakse, 4000 Islands? Hard to choose so last minute…
So I’ll just get on that plane tomorrow as booked, and see where it takes me.
Vientiane, laid out over flatlands around the Mekong, the capital with a much more western feel, where the western translation of the street names start with ‘rue’ and where the Mediterranean spiced barbecue smells finish it off, as the ice-cream man rides around with his little cart and creepy tunes.
Stray booked me in a horrible hotel and took me out for an expensive dinner – I had to pay for myself of course. That’s worse than your date going Dutch on you.
And tomorrow will take my adventure to a next level. Tomorrow will throw me out in the deep, as I deliver my visa approval letter at the Vietnam costums, and thereby my last planned piece of paper, until the voluntering in Cambodia starts 10 days later.
I’ve been told to do north: Sapa, Halong Bay. Halfway: Hoi An, Dalat. Downsouth: the Mekong river delta. To buy a motorbike: I’ve met several people who did so, and that does really sound like an amazing way to travel, getting much more in touch with local life.
Either way, I have no idea how to fit it all, especially since I’ll probably take longer now planning and booking as I go.
But for now I have to day goodbye to lovely Laos. It was an absolute pleasure, and I’ll be dreaming of the day I come back, until I do!
First hand horror stories in Laos:
It wasn’t all moonlight and roses. There have been a few unpleasant incounters.
Like the time when Leila nearly got robbed, on that crossroad in Luang Prabang. In the middle of the night while we’re all standing there, discussing on going to bowling alley or not. Some guys on a scooter drove by and tried to rip off her purse. She screamed and they drove of empty handed.
Or the time Kevin was picked up by the Vang Vieng police, pretty much at random. They claimed he’d broken a glass door. He surely had an alibi and everything, and had no idea what they were talking about. But they kept hitting him, saying he had to admit; otherwise, they gave him the option, it’d be 30 days in jail. So he countered he wanted to speak with the embassy. They ended up just taking his passport; he could pick it up the next day, for 4 million kip(!)
Dave however did break a glass to get into his room he’d lost the key from in Vang Vieng. He ended up climbing his neighbours’ balcony to get to his own and opened the door through that window he broke. He did not get into trouble after explaining and apoligising to the hotel owner.
Other common things seen: cuts and bruses, bad ones, most of them caused by motorbike crashes, often combined with alcohol. Especially in Vang Vieng. Hard knock life on the road, people, be carefull and sht.