Our blog for our trip to the far east. Taking in Singapore, Thailand, Laos and home before and after we leave

Monday, March 27, 2006

27th March, Generic internet cafe, Vientiane, Laos

We didn't do much in Nong Khai: lazed around at the guesthouse, went on a river cruise, visited some temples and Iain went jogging and went to get the train tickets by bike.

We are now in Vientiane, arriving yesterday. It is smaller than I expected and easy to get around. We went on a nice walk along the river and had a few beer Lao. Today we went to the market and visted some more temples.

Laos, the country more bombed per head of population than any other in history, thanks mainly to the lacksadaisical approach of B52 pilots in the Vietnam War dumping their payload in the wrong place. It's a lovely country. The people are more unassuming than the Thais, shy even, but quite friendly. The language is quite similar, or so it sounds from the few words we've picked up so far. The food hasn't been much to write home about so far, so I won't. Temples are pretty good. Our guesthouse, the Mali Nam Phu is quite charming. The room looks out onto a courtyard in the colonial French style (albeit of concrete, rather than real stone), but it's also where we eat breakfast, and makes a nice place to start the day.

Nong Khai was incredibly sleepy. I have never been anywhere where the traffic goes so slowly. Most of the river on the Thai side is undergoing some construction work so isn't that aesthetically pleasing. Getting over to Laos was quite easy. pricey at US$31 (it's $30 normally, but at weekends they put on another $1, presumably because people are payed an extra 3% for working at such an unsocial time. Big deal!). Over the border, it becomes quite clear that Laos is a little less devloped than Thailand, the roads are less well metalled, and don't have curbs until you reach the city centre. The French influence is fairly apparent as well, though not to the extent of personal hygiene customs, which is obviously a good thing.

Tomorrow we are off to see the main temple of the city, and the Arc de Triomphe type thing they have here as well (which we've seen down a long boulevard, not too disimilar to Paris).
One other thing.

The whole of the area we are in at the moment is SO HOT. Walking around during the day is quite taxing, and we need to stop for regular drinks. In Nong Khai, our guesthouse room never dipped below 30deg all night. Here we have the luxury of air conditioning so it's not so bad. Still, any excuse for more Beer-Lao.


Blogger Paul said...

Hi Jane and Iain.

Seems it pretty hot there... My heart goes out to you... having to cool down with Beer-Lao. It’s been a bit muggy/freezing cold here... and the air-con at works gone up the wall so the temperature in my office must be similar to Nong Khai; only you have beautiful sceanery, I have blokes in suits.

Its good know you share my travel ethic of going to interesting places while visiting lots of local bars. Enyoying your blog…


'Travelling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy…'

3:20 AM


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