Sunday, 12 August 2007

Getting Lost in Laos

Laos is the complete opposite to Vietnam - it is quieter, more relaxed, and we are able to walk down the middle of the road without fearing death. I like Laos a lot, there are fewer tourists and more little children to chase you down the street.

On our first day in Vientiane (the capital), Tane and I merrily set out for the only place that we could change money in the entire country about 2 hours before it closed. After walking toward what we thought was the centre of town for close to an hour we were surprised - we had heard that Vientiane was a small city, but thought that the dirt roads and lack of shops was a bit extreme for a capital. Little did we know we had walked the wrong way.
Walking the wrong way. Fool!
Luckily, in true Laos style, a monk eventually set us right. We found out where to go and now the monk is probably one step closer to Nirvana so it was a win-win situation. I let Tane do all the talking - apparently, if I even brushed up against him the monk would have had to "ritually cleanse" himself for days, so didn't want to risk it.


Tane getting directions from a monk. Notice Tane straining to keep his head lower than the Monk's, as it is a sign of respect to do so. Quite hard when they are very short.


After catching a tuk-tuk, we made the bank just in time to change our money. Lucky, too, as doing so enabled us to see some very lovely temples around Vientiane. Here is a photo of Tane sitting at one of them, Phat Tat Luang.

Tane also got talking to another monk here, and learned that they get up at 4am each morning to meditate. It all felt very quaint and old-fashioned - until the monk's cellphone went off from inside his orange robes. That's modernisation for you, I guess.

We are now in the small town of Vang Vieng, the backpacking hub of Laos. It's a lovely place, but a bit strange as every bar has a large TV, and pretty much all of these are playing re-runs of Friends. We have even heard rumours of a cafe where you can see four episodes all at once. There is some fabulous countryside near Vang Vieng, though, that has made the stop off well worth it.

3 comments:

Mike said...

Hello,

We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for
www.BlogInterviewer.com . We'd like to give you the opportunity to
give us some insight on the "person behind the blog."

It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
be submitted online at http://bloginterviewer.com/submit-an-interview

Best regards,

Mike Thomas

PS You should check out Luang Prabang...it's a beautiful place...I liked it better than Vientiane.

Happy travels!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an information gathering/marketing thing - he's posted that comment all over the interwebs. Don't waste your precious travelling internet cafe time on it.

Bonnie

Miriama said...

Hey Lauren and Tane! Had a dream about you last night Lauren that the heat had bleached your hair and your eyelashes!!! - but I see from photos it has not :-) Your blog rocks my world, keep up the fabulous travels xoxox