vientiane (part 2)

Posted in laos, vientiane by moonwire on September 3, 2009

Just a few days before leaving, Vientiane has definitely unleashed its charm on me. I remember how I arrived here at first and thought ‘this is it?’ After having spent a week here, I’ve discovered there’s so much more to it than initially meets the eye. The people here, just like in Luang Prabang, are amazing. They are nice and helpful and interested in your whereabouts (and like to practice English). Everything is so mellow here, even the traffic. It’s strange that a town like this is the capital of a country.

My last few days here were really good. The weather was also cooperating more. There were still heavy rains overnight and in the early morning, but none of the 6 hour downpours that I experienced at first. And though I’ve gone off rice and noodles, I did have a really good Lao noodle dish here. Spicy (and very salty).

This morning I got up early to visit the morning market. Because it had rained a lot overnight, it was very messy and muddy but that didn’t seem to deter anybody, including myself. Absolute mayhem. Just like any other South East Asian country I’ve visited , there are a lot of motorbikes. There were major traffic jams right in the market.

And of course, seeing all the flies on the meat and fish made me hurl my cookies (again) but I did end up having brekkie with a girl I met, Leah. She’s 10 years old. Speaks a tiny bit of English and doesn’t go to school because there’s no money (this breaks my heart). She helps out her family by selling packets of chewing gum. Heart breaking. We had breakfast (though I skipped the mystery meat) and I gave her my umbrella. Later in the afternoon, I saw her walking down the streets again, with my umbrella. She didn’t see me but it made me smile.

Some more images from the morning market:

This afternoon I went back to Wat Mixay, the temple just around the corner from my hotel, where I had met a few giggly monks earlier. Well, I was right on time. The monks were shaving eachother’s head and eyebrows in preparation of a big festival on Sunday. I chatted with them for a while and they let me take photos of the shaving event. One of them, monk Syriya, the one who’s getting the close shave in the photographs, asked if I could email him the shots. Somehow, this cracked me up.

I’m off to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, tomorrow. I can only hope it will be even remotely as good as Laos. This is my first trip to South East Asia, and I’m trying to do a ‘best of’ but I’d like to return to Laos one day, and see more of this beautiful country and its people.

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