Sunday, September 20, 2009

16th to 18th September - Vientiane

the Capital City of Laos is pretty small. We took the VIP bus (ha ha.... just such a funny name for such a bus) to Vientiane and I was travelling with Steph, Robert and Lawrence (Germany), Emma (UK), Tal (Israel), Thomas and Elsa (Sweden), Dave (Australia), Alex (US) and Martijn and Arwin (Holland).

After the usual, let's walk around for an hour without getting a guest house, we all, strangely enough, individually ended up at The Riverside Hotel. Surprised to see each other there...

That night was a little quiet as we were tired from the journey and the heavens opened. The next morning, we said goodbye to our German (except Lawrence), Swedish and US friends. Again, they were all wonderful people and I truly hope we can stay in touch. Lawrence and I headed for a foot massage. One of the girls working there loved the colour of my skin for some reason and kept smiling over at me saying a word similar to cow which apparently means either white or idiot in Laos.... I think it means white.

The rest of us went to see the Buddha Park and the largest temple in Vientiane. It was great to see these places and the Buddha Park is definitely worth a visit.

From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


Afterwards, I had a couple of hours to kill so I went back to have a body massage. It was great although a little disconcerting. The girl who kept saying cow to me was there again and midway through my massage I heard some noise. I opened my eyes and saw three pairs of eyes peering at me through the curtains... The girls seemed to have a thing about my alabaster appearance.... It was funny if a little weird... They giggled and scurried off after I busted them glaring.

That night I asked the tuk tuk driver who took us around that day for a suggestion of where to go to. He recommended Future Bar... I probably won't request advice of this nature off a tuk tuk driver again... Let's just say it was an entertaining evening.

We ended up in this strange part of town with a million Japanese restaurants. The usual no one making a decision where to eat happened and Lawrence and I just sat down at a quiet small place forcing the decision on the others. We quickly noticed a couple of interesting things about this place. The lady who was the manager and chef was err.... not really a lady at all... Norman Bates Mother from Psycho sprang rapidly to mind. Also, English was a language that was without grasp by the staff of the place. Anyway, not one to judge the judged I set about ordering food. The others did so too. After about 15 different problems with the food order later (the non-English thing proved a little tricky), the manager who we'll call Jack/Jill for the sake of this tale, walked off and headed to the direction of the road where she/he proceeded to burst into tears. I felt pretty bad for him/her as I never like to see anyone cry so I took it upon myself to go over to him/her and brought Jack/Jill back to the restaurant. A couple of salsa moves on the way back to the restaurant brought a smile to his/her face and the evening was able to continue.

We went to future bar and quickly realised it wasn't for us so we headed to the Penguin Karaoke place down the road. Oh man, it was hilarious. There was a traditional Laos band belting all the Laos classics on stage, there were private Karaoke rooms dotted about upstairs and there was a strange room full of girls on the ground floor. I dragged Emma up for a dance on the empty dancefloor and quickly dropped her on her back after an errant move.... Then the song changed and the girls started to filter out of their ground floor room. There must have been about 30 of them. It was very strange. They then got into formation on the dancefloor and moved in a very shy and non-interested dance routine on the floor.

From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


From Vientiane


So of course, i joined in... :) The girls then disappeared back into the room re-appearing every couple of songs. We found out later that you pay for a dance with the girls and the reason they come out to dance in formation is so the male guest of the club can pick who they want to hire for a dance. Very strange.

Another couple of bars later saw us head back to the hotel after an extraordinary evening...

The next day, Tal and I headed to Vietnam while the others headed down south to Cambodia... We were a group of two now after a week or so of being a group of 12 to 15. It felt a little strange.

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