Day 20 - Monster of ConcreteFebruary 27, 2017 in Laos
A 5am wake up call to head to Luang Prabang airport. Matt began to get the stress shakes when he realised none of the coffee selling establishments were open at 5.50am when we arrived yet though his panic didn't last too long. Though the souvenir gift stands opened first. That's multiple stands, for a small airport where the man on security also directed us to our plane by vaguely pointing to 'the middle plane' before we wandered freely over the tarmac. I'm not sure his security skills were up to much either as I made the machine beep, took of my shoes, beeped again and he shrugged and let me go.
A short flight mostly spent killed mosquitos with the in flight magazine and we landed in Vientiane. We've gone slightly more upmarket here and spent a whopping £35 on an actual hotel so we had a driver to pick us. Much appreciated to avoid the early morning tuk tuk bargaining and they let us check in early.
We soon headed out though as what we've learnt about Laos is its unbearably hot after about 2pm. First stop was a cafe for a second breakfast (mmm croissants) then a general wander. Minor mishap in that someone tripped off a curb and hurt their ankle. And it wasn't me! It's not too bad he says, hobbling on. We went on regardless and walked through Chao Anouvong Park, named after the man of the same name in the statue that's there. We also saw a pick up truck drive past pumping out music with a big gold Buddha and a monk on the back - hastily taken picture in the photo section.
We went round a couple of temples on the way back as it's been at least a week since we went in one. As they say frequently in Laos (it's even on t-shirts) 'Same Same but Different'. Though one temple was having the painted wall murals painstakingly restored which was interesting to watch. No photos allowed though to 'prevent thefts and schemes'.
Next stop was lunch at a place called Noy's Fruit Heaven. We had lovely smoothies and pittas. There was however a very sad eyed dog watching us eat and breaking my heart. The guys who worked there obviously felt the same as they went and got him half a white baguette (that famous doggie treat). He turned his nose up at that but enjoyed a piece of mayonnaise covered chicken Matt dropped.
Last stop before heading back to the hotel was the Patuxai which is a war memorial looking not unlike the Arc de Triomphe - ironic seeing as it's commemorate the war to get independence from French rule. The very honest signage calls it a 'monster of concrete'. I actually like the monster though and we climbed to the top for view over the city (after we passed the ton of souvenir stalls on the way up).
Air con and pool time followed before heading out to dinner at 'Sticky Fingers'. Margaritas and surprisingly good bangers and mash were the order of the day. That and listening to the sound from across the street from a stall where you had to try and pop balloons with darts - tuneful. When the noise got too much we traipsed through the night market to look at all the knock off goods and found another bar which had reasonably priced red wine.Read more