Laos: Vientiane

I wake up quite late into the morning and find some people to get breakfast with. Today, I order a fruit cup and some breakfast sausage which is actually just a hot dog. When will I learn?After breakfast I walk to a travel agency to look into the prices of flights, trains and busses that we can potentially take to get to the south islands of Thailand. I find a couple good options and go back to meet Ilona to discuss them. We don’t come up with a solid plan, and somehow decide to go shopping instead; classic procrastination. After shopping around the main street of Vientiane for about an hour, we go back to the hotel because I’m exhausted and want to nap before going out tonight, which I know we’re going to do because now it is ACTUALLY everyone’s last night together. We’re really sad to have to separate from everyone, especially the girls we met, but they are coming to the south islands after they visit Cambodia, so that they can attend the famous Full Moon Party, so we’ll still see them in a couple of ¬†weeks.

Before going into the hotel, Ilona and I try to stop into one more travel agency just to compare prices. The four girls are in there too, and I assume that they’re booking their flight to Cambodia, but I’m greeted by an awesome surprise when they tell me that they’ve changed their plans and are coming to the south islands in Thailand with us now instead! All six of us book a flight from Vientiane to Bangkok for tomorrow morning, and plan to take a night train from Bangkok to Phucket. I only agree to the night train on the condition that we get air conditioning and shut all the windows to prevent any bugs from getting in. I swear to god I will die if I have to go through that again, but I’m open to giving the night train another chance.

The girls go for lunch but I’m still full from my late breakfast and I am truly exhausted so I go have a nap in the hotel.
At 5:30pm I wake up and go downstairs to see if I can find anyone. It’s difficult to keep tabs on where everybody is when there’s no wifi in your room to contact people, so I just plan on walking around until I see someone and to figure out if we have any dinner plans. Sure enough, as soon as I walk outside the hotel I find one of the guys walking down the street. He doesn’t know where anyone is either, and we’re both hungry, so we decide to just go for dinner. We find a Belgian food restaurant where I order a really good salad with feta, boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and a delicious mystery dressing. We’re right down the street from the Grand Palace, so after dinner we walk down to take a look, even though it’s closed for the night. There’s a large statue of a man looking out over the Mekong river, in the park just across the street from the Grand Palace, so we walk over to check that out too. From what I gather, it’s a statue to honour an old communist ruler, who was apparently very well liked because many locals are gathered around praying, lighting candles, and leaving flowers at his feet. We walk back along the side of the river and through a night market before getting back to the hotel, where everyone is hanging out outside. Now everyone is hungry and wants to go for dinner so even though I’ve already eaten, I tag along. We go to what they advertise as a Tex Mex restaurant, but there is pizza and pasta on the menu…along with some Mexican options too though, so I guess it counts. I am too full to order anything so I just get a drink and hang out. There is a small stage where a local guy goes up with a guitar and plays some Laos music for a while. Later on, his friend joins him and they play classic American songs, starting with Wonderwall. They LOVE Wonderwall here, I’ve heard it at least 3 or 4 times on separate occasions throughout Asia. We love it, and he starts asking people to go up and sing with him, which I really want to do but can’t muster up the courage to go alone. I’m weak.

I leave the restaurant and run to a hostel down the street where I can get wifi, because Tressa and I have set up a Skype date. I get there earlier than expected so I FaceTime Krista in between. It’s so nice to have access to technology like this, even in a small communist country like Laos, all the way on the other side of the world. I don’t realize how much I miss people until I see them, and it’s really nice to chat, even if it’s just for a little bit.

I run back to the restaurant and the karaoke/acoustic thing Is still going on. One of the other girls agrees to go up with me, so we go up and sing Let It Be. It’s awful. A random man from the restaurant comes up with us too and is singing most of it, and blocking the book with the lyrics. I’m embarrassed that I don’t know all the words, but I don’t. I do know them better than the performer though, who has been singing all the classic American songs and just making up his own words as he goes along. It’s so adorable, I actually love live music here. In Thai, Laotian, or in English it’s always so entertaining!

We leave the restaurant and go back to hang out at the tables outside our hostel. I feel like a loitering teenager, but everything in Laos closes at 11, even in Vientiane, so there is nowhere else to go and there definitely isn’t space for 20 people in one of our tiny hostel rooms, so at the tables we stay. Our flight leaves at 7am tomorrow morning, so I leave relatively early so that I can get some sleep. It’s sad to have to say goodbye to everyone, but at least now with all the girls going down to the islands together, it’s 4 less goodbyes that I have to say!

I go to bed and set my alarm for 5am. I already hate tomorrow morning.

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