Back to Where We Came From

4 03 2009

Vang Vieng & Vientiane, Laos

It’s strange to go back to a city where you’ve already been. After traveling for almost a year, familiarity is a strange and exhilarating feeling. Being able to walk around town without a map is like being let off the leash. “Where do you want to go for dinner?” engenders no research, no planning. So while leaving Luang Prabang and going back for a few nights in Vang Vieng and Vientiane was nothing new in location. It did provide all new feelings. Unconsciously we started to see things that we never noticed before. When you go out into a new city a try to find things, you are always looking for something and because of that, you never look at anything. For instance, Laos is a very religious country. Buddhism is in everything they do. Because of this, saffron wrapped men are everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vientiane and the Long Ride

15 02 2009

Vientiane, Laos

The ride from Savannakhet to Vientiane took 11 hours of my life that I would really like to get back. It was one of those bus rides that Monika told me about, but that I never thought would be that bad. But wow, it was bad. Gage and I thought we were strong. We thought we were seasoned travelers after almost a year on the road; that nothing could shock us or slow us down. But all it took was one bus ride. One bus ride with seats so small that our knees touched the seat in front of us, with speakers above our heads blaring Thai and Lao pop music loud enough for a night club, and music videos with painfully bad actors who acted out heartbreak as though it were a confusing gas pain repeatedly played on the screen in front of us. For 11 hours. We had planned to spend one night in Vientiane and then head up to the smaller cities and towns in the mountains, each of which would have required a 10+ hour bus ride due to the poor roads. In the ninth hour of our misery I added it all up and realized that we faced at least 57 more hours of bus time over the next 24 days. So when we got to town we booked a hotel for two nights, pulled out our various maps and guides, and reworked our entire plan. Read the rest of this entry »