After an adventure of a bus ride (12 hours, sharing our single bed bunk bed!) Therese and I arrived in Vientiane – the capital of Laos.
This city is characterized by the fusion between french and Laos culture. Street signs are mostly posted in french, bakeries line the street and vendors sell baguettes on the side of the road. But there is a saying in Asia: same same, but different. Vientiane has an Arc de Triomphe, it has the french cuisine and the white washed buildings we associate with Nice, but it is certainly different. The baguettes, for example, are made with coconut milk and rice flour. Sure, they look the same, but boy, do they taste different.
We only spent one night in Vientiane, but had two full days – plenty of time to walk around the entire city. Despite the outrageous heat (40C) we spent the day exploring, visiting a local shrine and temple, mailing postcards and seeing some of the sights. We even happened upon the filming of a music video, rows of women dressed in traditional wrap skirts in beautiful silks and men in linen shirts dancing in rows, almost bollywood-esque to playback blaring over a PA system.It’s moments like this that I am grateful for – the unexpected that comes only with little planning and an open mind.
As the sun set we stumbled upon a night market on the city’s waterfront, well, what is a waterfront during rainy season. During dry season (which we were in) it is more or less like a massive desert riverbed.
We spent a lot of time wandering up and down the rows of wares at the night market, stopping for smoothies and banana crepes (my new favourite snack) and purchasing some local crafts to take home.
When we had gotten our fill we headed back to our questionable room, had cold showers and managed to get some sleep before the winding uphill journey to Vang Vieng the next day.