Steph Greenidge

Currently on my travels around South East Asia
  • Day2

    Vientiane

    April 26, 2017 in Laos

    So Laos capital isn't the most entertaining city I've ever been to. Still, the COPE orthotics and prosthetics rehab centre was definitely worth a visit. It was an inspiring, emotional and highly educational experience and I was shocked to hear about the devestating and lasting effects the Vietnam war has had on the people of Laos. After the war there were 8 million unexploded bombs that are still injuring people to this day.
    I learnt a lot from this centre and even asked if they took volunteers but unfortunately they don't! I think it would be such a cool place to work.

    I spent my two evenings with my roommates who were all a good laugh. The first evening I ended up going for dinner with a 50 something yr old American guy who was probably the most interesting person I've met. He has had so many jobs, and travelled so many places. He had so many cool stories! Afterward we browsed the night market and then returned to the hostel.

    My hostel had a happy hour deal on 'Free vodka for 2 hours'. So naturally a big group of us took advantage of that, playing drinking games until the vodka ran out. We then decided to check out the local nightlife, very weird. We went to three different 'clubs', two of which had local singers perfoming which were bloody terrible. The last place was a kareoke establishment like nothing I've ever seen before. There are separate booths for groups which were kitted out with plush sofas, huge tv screens, lights, huge speakers and alcohol. We ended up gate crashing a booth of local men who were singing, dancing and rapping with their tops off. They seemed to enjoy having our massive group join them, it was chaos!

    Next stop, Vang Vieng... a bumpy 5 hour journey with a hangover from hell, yay!
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  • Day1

    Vientiane

    April 25, 2017 in Laos

    So now I'm flying solo. Tasha and I have said our farewells at Manila airport and she has headed back home to England. I'm en route to my hostel in a taxi with a guy who has no idea where he's going. Good. Surely not a sign of things to come?
    Yes. Yes it was.

    My journey to Laos was not my favourite part of my trip to say the least. I eventually found my hostel with the help of GPS and was luckily greeted with a cold beer. I stayed up for a few dienks with the staff and a German guy called Conrad, and then called it a night.

    It was slightly odd entering my dorm with 16 other people asleep. I tried to be as quiet as possible whilst clambering into my top bunk being as elegant as an elephant.

    I woke early and had a few hours to kill before heading back to Manila airport for my flight to Bangkok. I was trying to work out the best/ cheapest way to get back to the airport, the hostel offered a price that was nearly quadruple what I had paid the night before! Luckily I was able to jump in an uber two scouse lads had booked even though it was earlier than the time I thought I needed to leave. It was lucky I did leave with them as the traffic was basically standstill and the airport was absolutely packed! I was having heart palpitations queing for immigration because my flight was due to depart in 15 minutes. I had accept d in my head that I'd missed my flight however I think they had allowed for the massive queues as I made my flight and all was well again.

    When I landed I exchanged my Philippines pesos for Baht and withdrew some money I felt like I hadn't my shit together but that definitely didn't last long. Leaving the airport was a nightmare. I could have either tried to work or the trains to get to the train station or jump in a taxi. I went for the taxi option and got a guy who spoke little English. He said I would not make my 8pm train even though it was only 6pm and decided to drop me at some random guest house. Good start.
    I then jumped in another taxi who was very helpful. He raced across town as fast as he could to try and get me to the station before 8, however we just missed it so he looked up bus times on the internet and took me to the bus station to get to Laos instead. He even took me to the right counter to buy my ticket. Cost me though! Definitely got stung a bit there! Anyway, I was just glad to be on the right bus to the Laos - Thailand border and soon settled in to my reclining comfy seat.
    The journey took forever and we finally arrived at about 7am. I then needed to get a bus to the border to buy my visa on arrival to enter Laos. However, the ticket lady said I could not board the bus because I didn't have a visa already. Great. So I had to get a tuk tuk to the border an he tried to fob me off and take me to some random shop to get my visa. Luckily I wasn't that stupid and firmly told him to take me to the border.
    The whole process was so long winded and confusing, I met an Italian lad in the queue who was also as confused as me but we managed to work out what we had to do.
    Finally after filling out various forms, paying our fees and having our baggage checked we were able to cross over into Laos. YAY!
    Just one more final tuk tuk to my hostel and then I could relax.
    It was only 9am and I couldn't check into my bed until 1:30 so I just went for a walk on my own and checked out the local area. I found one of the famous temples and grabbed some food. I actually felt proud of myself for getting to my destination! Time to meet my roommates!
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