As a capital city, Vientiane disappointed. In comparison to Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, there wasn’t much to do, and that there was to do wasn’t that good. We did however score with dinner. After roaming the streets for what felt like hours until we found a place that we deemed ‘safe’, we stumbled across a stall that didn’t even seem like a restaurant. But with simple Lao dishes at cheap prices, we were sold. While the food was delicious, the owner and waiter, a 23 year old Yale graduate who was only too happy to boast the fact, did get a bit annoying, and once he and his friends asked us to join them for drinks, we knew we had to hit the abort button. Quickly.
While the markets disappointed, it was nice to retire to the hostel, Silhome Backpackers, to watch a movie. Our hostel had awesome vibes. Every wall was covered in drawings and street-graffiti style art. The staff were awesome, especially our ‘boyfriend’.
The positives of Vientiane:
Free bottle of Vodka from our ‘boyfriend’ at the hostel.
Jumping on the back of our ‘boyfriends’ scooter and being taken to a local club where we were the only tourists and had everyone stare at us.
Riding bikes without breaks around the city.
Bumping into people we’d met previously on our trip.
And the COPE Centre – a free exhibition in the rehabilitation centre which told of the horrors that happened in Laos during the Cold War period. Laos was bombed every 8 minutes, 24 hrs a day for 9 years. What is worse is that the UN had declared Laos a neutral country and yet they were still subject to this. To this day the country is still covered in unexploded mines, that continue to kill and maime innocent people regularly. It was incredible to see the efforts of a range of program’s established to fix this problem – teams of people dedicating their life to detonating each of these bombs individually.
Off to Cambodia now. Enduring a few days of death before we get there. Fingers crossed we don’t get scammed.