October 17, 2011 Monday Ha Noi to Vientiane.

Lyn and I have split company with Val and Michael to return to Melbourne – yes, we arrived safely home this morning Tuesday.  For the next couple of days, Michael is providing the posts of the rest of their trip of 5 nights in Laos.  Thanks Michael.


….and then there were two…..

We left our beloved “leaders” at Ha Noi airport at eight in the morning, leaving them to their marathon wait for their flight to Singapore.  I sincerely hope that they did not drink any of that indescribable liquid sold as ‘coffee’ or ate any of those salad rolls, last seen ‘walking’ along the shelf.

Arriving in Vientiane, we were met by our guide, Sen, and driven to our run-down, flea-pit of a hotel-only to be greeted by the entire Lao armed forces! They were having a little get together and most of the generals seem to be on our floor. We had been ‘upgraded’ and were installed on the six floor-where all the rooms, have their occupant’s names on the doors (ours didn’t), but we didn’t mind because our room is just sensational (Unbelievable).  Pictures are included.  We have our own ‘ming vase’ in the ‘vestibule’, a bar, sitting room, separate bedroom with chaise lounge, two TVs plus two toilets and basins! The only drawback is there so many places to put things that when we tried to leave the suite for our exploration of Vientiane there were cries of “have you seen my glasses, watch, camera?”

There were dramas to be had at the ATM whilst trying to get out the millions of Kipp needed for a few dollars but we were a little concerned when the millions didn’t eventuate.  Had our bottomless credit card emptied and left us destitute?  We tried again in the next ATM, this time a seedy little box on the street.  It gave us some cash but decided it liked our card so much it would keep it!  Val asked the lovely person in the shop and she phoned the bank and insisted that they come out to us and rescue the card.  Meanwhile Michael realized that we didn’t have any identification on us-back in the hotel safe, so went back to get the passport.   However, when the guy arrived, Michael had not returned so he handed over the card anyway.

We discovered the Patuxay Monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe.  Of course we had to climb to the top to photograph the views.  The whole area is very beautiful with lakes, gardens and fountains.

Even on the drive from the airport we noticed that there were more cars than motorbikes compared to Vietnam.  There are heaps of 4 wheel drives all in excellent condition and surprisingly well behaved on the road.  We have been so used to traffic lights that are not obeyed in Vietnam, that when once we tried to cross the road on a red light because we had waited so long, we were looked at crossly by the locals.

Whilst having our dinner we were entertained by some dancers and musicians. Unfortunately we didn’t have our camera with us.  Next time!

Author: @colinspain

The Official Blogger for Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Group Tours

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