Monday, November 29, 2010

now why did we come here again? Hello, Vientiane.

We were trying to remember why we decided to come to Vientiane, and being here hasn't helped us remember. All Marc could reconstruct is that we came to Vientiane to get to Laos before we knew we had to go to Phnom Penh to go to Luang Prabang, or anywhere else in Laos, and somehow Vientiane never got dropped from the itinerary. It's not like we knew anything about Vientiane, other than that it's the capital of Laos. So when we got here this afternoon, we started looking in the travel guides, our Lonely Planet book, everywhere online, and we just kept reading this kind of thing: "since there's not much to do in Vientiane, the kids love to bowl."

Since one of our primary activities when we travel involves eating, we decided to go to the Mekong, just a few blocks from our (lackluster but ok) hotel since there's supposed to be a big thriving food scene there. The way we understood it, there would be lots of food vendors all along the riverfront. Here's what we saw:

yeah. I guess not.
So we wandered a bit, and finally found the food vendors lined up along a street set in a ways from the river. We picked one that looked good and sat down; the tables and chairs were lined up in the dust, littered with cigarette butts and construction debris, and an electrical wire running down the middle. I think we were getting bitten with sand fleas, on top of it. But I'll tell you what: the food was amazing. We had sticky rice, fried spring rolls, a grilled fish, chicken in spicy red chili sauce, and yellow noodles with pork. Plus a giant Beerlao for me, and a big bottle of water for us to share. LOTS of food, and all delicious. And the bill came to $15, which included a tip of unknown size.

We have no idea what we're going to do here. Aside from the wats, there's not that much to see. A replica of the Arc de Triomphe, Buddha park outside town, and a couple of markets......and we're here for 3 nights. Our hotel is wholly unremarkable, a far cry from the really lovely place we stayed in Luang Prabang. Vientiane suffers in the comparison, and we're glad it's not our last stop on our vacation. We have two nights in Phnom Penh to look forward to, and I hope we find something of interest here. We'll see. At the least, we decided to just go ahead and be up front with our shared disappointment in Vientiane, kind of like we did with our experience in India, and that helps. What's that saying? A problem shared is a problem halved, or something?

Oh yeah. I have a cold.

Perhaps the rest of this evening we'll watch Lao tv - in a language we absolutely cannot understand - in an attempt to entertain ourselves. :)


  1. Well, apparently it's cold & rainy in at least you've got warm & boring? I'm sorry this place is a bust!

  2. Well if you're stuck somewhere with a cold and a dead camera battery I'm glad it's not somewhere super fabulous... I hope you feel better and that the rest of your trip is amazing!


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