livin the live in laos

well I have no idea where the last two weeks have gone and they are a bit hazy but I think that can only mean that I’ve had a good time!

In the expensive and sleepy city of Vientiane at the moment just waiting for my bus to vietnam. Its expensive, but at least you get what you pay for here. we checked into a lovely guest house with hot water, air con and sat tv! wow luxury. 1st hot shower in 2 weeks and first time ive seen tv in 6 weeks. And the most important bit- the toilet had a flush! you cant get better than that! After being in the room 5 minutes we turned the aircon off because we were freezing. I was even wearing a jumper.

so we really have been enjoying ourselves in Laos. The 3 day journey here was long but at least we had beer lao to keep us merry. On the second day of the slow boat they tried to make us all cram into one boat. It was cramped enough with everyone in 2 boats- but guess what, we did as we were told and like robots we all climbed into 1 boat. It slowly rocked and creeked and we were all sitting on top of each other saying to ourselves that we might ask for our money back when we get there. Eventually a couple of people piped up and tryed to explain that we might all drown and after an hour they agreed to let us have the second boat. Suddenly there was a great rush as everyone climbed through the windows to reach the second boat and about 3 hours after leaving time, we left. Im learning to be more patient. Its tough but as long as you allow an extra 2 or 3 hours for everything you want to do including having dinner- theres no problems!

Met some fantastic people on the journey and we all travelled together around Laos. Ken from Holland, Christine from Germany Susan and Bjorn from Sweden and John from Ireland. I also met up with Gil who I met on my trek in Thailand and others joined and left our little group. We spent a few days in Luang Prabang where I bought my prized Beer Lao T shirt for less than a dollar then we made our way down to Vang Vieng- a place where all you can do is relax and get drunk! we spent days floating down the river in rubber tubes with beers along the way, swam in a couple of waterfalls, ate lots and drank buckets full of whiskey til the early hours around a fire next to the river. I could have stayed there forever but time waa calling me away and tomorrow I leave for Vietnam on a 24 hour bus journey. Heard some real horror stories about the journey involving long waits at the border and raids with sniffer dogs. Oh did I mention that one night in Vang Vieng the police came round searching for people with drugs! some people we knew got caught but as far as we know they just had to pay a bribe not to go to prison.

I’ll be really sad to leave Laos and the people I’ve met. John left yesterday but hopefully il see him again in Bangkok. and the others are coming to Vietnam in the next few days so we’ll probably bump into each other. Last night was the first time I had a room to my self and it felt very strange. Everywhere we went in Laos we ran into people we knew! its very cosy.Now I’ll have to get used to another new language and another knew currency. Dont know if my brain can cope. In the last week ive been leaning Hebrew, Lao and a bit of Dutch. Most of the practice was over a bottle of whiskey so cant remember much of it! One of the most surreal moments was when we were walking back from a day at the waterfall and we passed a talking bird. It was talking in Lao and we could understand what it was saying. For some reason we found this really funny and started talking back to it in Lao. Maybe you had to be there.

One thing I wont miss about Laos is the lack of Atms. As in, no Atms. I kept getting caught out becasue it was the wrong time or day to change money and you really have to look around to find a place that accepts visa cards!

anyway my bus leaves at 7pm tonight and gets to Hue in Vietnam at 7pm tomorrow night so il let you know how it goes!

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