Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vientiane

Mike and I are shoestring travelers. What makes that wonderful is that your stories are so much more fun to tell. There is a side of the culture you can only experience when you live as the locals do. With the exception of white water rafting, it's exactly how we roll. Although I have been an avid bus fan for a long time, the chance to water our way down to Vientiane sounded especially fun knowing Mufasa would be squished between Mike and I. The expression on our guides face when we pulled Mufasa out of our bag and announced that he would be joining our little soiree was priceless.
So here we are before our grand adventure.
Surprisingly...we didn't tip the boat once and Mufasa stayed relatively dry. Notice how he's clamboring for land. Although there were a few close calls we I swear I could hear him screaming.
Being the 'fly by the seat of our pants' people that we are we never pre-arrange accommodation. Ever. Things usually work out and we have never to date paid more than $15 per room in Asia. Vientiane was a close call though. We walked around to probably 10 different hotels before we found one that wasn't full and with a price tag that wasn't outrageous. Just in time to see the sun set below the Mekong.
Most people we know have bones to pick with Vientiane. There are no major attractions besides being an international hub for the country. It is overflowing with tourists fresh from their in-flight services. Mike and I on the other hand, have a soft spot for the capital because they make THE BEST shakes known to man. Breakfast and dinner would often find us here, sipping on pureed mango and fresh fruit. Walks in the city revealed several beautiful Wat's. I love the detail. I should probably note that I had to twist Mike's arm to even enter these Wat's as Mike is chronically watted out. He's such a good sport : )
I love monks. I love their orange robes and giving alms. I love that I can't touch them (but Mike can). There just so quintessential Asia. We found these coming from a Wat after finding their inner Buddha. Contrary to what I previously thought, most are not monks their entire lives. They will often serve for several years, then take a break and come back. I had always thought if you took the vow they had you for life. Apparently they believe in an early release for good behavior.
Just a side note. The best part of our trip in Lao will be posted in two or three days. Although we are currently in Thailand, sipping on rice wine and watching the tide come and go, I never had time (or a decent internet connection) in Lao to write about them. Then once Phuket arrived all the salt water erased my ambition. So, hence the lack there of.

4 comments:

Brent Danley said...

I love the pictures and stories of your many adventures.

Do you ever have problems communicating with the locals outside of touristy areas?

jeannette St.G. said...

that mango drink looks very good!
happy travelling

Mike and Kim said...

Brent: Thanks for your comments. No, we hardly ever have any real problems. You would be surprised how far body language can go.

Jeannette: I have developed an unhealthy addiction to those glorious shakes. They are delicious!

warneke. said...

Hey Kim!
It's Christina Warneke. Mike's Dads employee/neighbor. I found your blog through Ken's page! Just wanted to say hi and thank you again for the wonderful waffles this morning! Now you can check out the videos of Lance skateboarding!