11.04.2010 - 14.04.2010 30 °C
After a typically two hour late arrival in Vientiane, we searched for approximately 47 hours for a guesthouse which apparently there is a distinct shortage of in this city, we finally stumbled across a small doorway next to a shop where we were offered an amazing price, our prayers had been answered. The woman laughed at us as we peeled off our backpacks to reveal a backpack shaped patch of sweat...before we agreed whole-heartedly to staying for the full 3 nights. Once the fatigue and relief had begun to wear off, we realised what we had signed up for. The most disgusting bathrooms we've ever seen, the locks didn't work and the once white tiles were ridden with ants. Still we are thrilled to have left with neither bedbugs, nor aids.
The next morning, we discovered our favourite Lao cafe, Joma, which we became addicted to in Louang Phabang. Laura cried with delight (almost as much as when she saw the Kitten on the Leaf) when she tried the Cinnamon Bun and we discovered a lovely drink that would not have pleased Wendy or G (Earl Gray tea with frothy milk and vanilla syrup)...YUM. We managed to cover all the main sights within 2 hours, Presidential Palace, another bloody temple and a museum (we didn't want to pay for both the temple and museum as we've become so tight and have decided we are not interested in the Arts and Crafts crap although it was worth it in Chiang Mai for the toilet facilities...here we opted for the temple). We then stumbled across the Lao version on the Champs Elysees complete with its own Arc de Triomphe. After severely prepping ourselves we managed to climb to the top for an interesting view of Vientianne. By this point we'd shed 5 stone in sweat and treated ourselves to a litre each (the waitress found this hilarious, once again) of Beer Lao.
Having built up our appetite, we decided we needed a good meal, however, Donna made the monumental error of ordering a dish with chilli, while Laura went for a more mild Pad Thai. We were very excited when the meals turned up as they looked delicious. Soon after, Donna began to sweat and lose sensation in her tongue. Not wanting to appear like a wuss in front of Laura, she got through half before admitting defeat. Laura finished hers and encouraged Donna that they could finish the meal in a 'team effort'. Laura was wrong, as she too felt the sweat beads running down her forehead. Instead it was decided as long as the beef was finished we could let the rest go. Needless to say, we've both learned from the experience and the cocktails went down well afterwards.
We started to relax as some live music started, but realised the Lao musician clearly hadn't learned any of the words to the Western songs, opting to mumble to his guitar instead. It was at this point Laura looked around and noticed that we were the only table not occupied by a fat white man and his young Thai bride. Instead of leaving, Laura pointed out that in their case, Donna was the Western man.
The next day did not begin well, but ended happily. Having seen all the sights in the centre the day before, we had a day to kill in the boiling capital. We also wanted to avoid taking out any more Kip, but eventually both begrudgingly decided we needed to do something and even staying put would require money. However, when we went to get cash out, no machines in the city centre were working for anyone. Our decision to go to the Buddha Park, for the obscene price of 8 pounds return for us both, was off the cards. As usual, we decided cheap internet was the way forward and as we were trying to download some pictures, Becky and Katie (who we went tubing with) appeared at the doorway. Having concluded that we would never see them again after they'd passed out for our dinner date, we were all very happy to be reunited. Needless to say the rest of our day was spent eating and drinking which cheered us all up. Neither Becky or Katie had been in high spirits beforehand as Becky had been bitten half to death at their guesthouse and Katie's card was not working.
We're currently wasting time at the airport as Donna insisted we arrive early. Our flight is in four hours. We've already had a bit of an embarrassing experience, as we realised that our 15,000 Kip (just over a pound) wouldn't get us very far for breakfast. An American man approached us telling us 'If you're STARVING, we can help you out!'. Exaggeration is not always the way forward. Instead we decided we'd have to get some money out to avoid feeling homeless. Breakfast was good.