Friday, April 14, 2006

Laos: Pii Mai Lao in Vientiane

It is New Year in this part of the world. That means Laos (Pii Mai Lao), Thailand (Songkran), Cambodia (Bonn Chaul Chhnam Khmer) and Myanmar (Thingyan Water Festival). While in the Philippines, everyone is silently commemorating Good Friday (except in Boracay and Puerto Galera maybe). Oh well! Hehe! I was able to call Loulou at 7 a.m. and she picked me up at the bus station a little later. Since she had to take care of her son today, Kao and Tuy took care of me today.

We (myself, Kao and her husband) joined Tuy's family for lunch at a really nice restaurant outside Vientiane. It was beside a lake with several huts built over the water. More Lao food today! Hehe! While waiting for lunch, we munched on some dry rambutan and camote chips, while I drank some Beer Lao. Lunch was plentiful. The first to arrive were green papaya salad and bamboo soup which was soooooo spicy it took quite a while for the effect to wear out.

Then came in noodles, some fried insects (they seemed to be bigger than the camaru we have in Pampanga), roasted chicken and fish roasted in salt, and of course, the ground lamb meat for good luck. I liked the taste of the roasted chicken. I'll try to find out the herbs they put in it. After lunch, it was a short nap in one of the huts. Hehe!

I think it was about 2:30 p.m.when we made our way back to town. We stopped by a market where I bought a bottle of Beer Lao for my collection and some Bastos cigarettes for pasalubong. Hehe! Then we made our way to the place where my bus to Bangkok would pick me up. This time, I learned my lesson. It may have been more expensive at THB690, but it was a no-worries ride. No need to worry for the next bus since it took you straight to Bangkok, there was dinner included (although it was only fried rice), and the seats were very comfortable and no one sat in the middle.

In fact, we left at 5:45 p.m. and got to the border by about 7:15 p.m. By 7:30 p.m., we were on our way to Bangkok stopping briefly at a riverside restaurant for dinner. In fact, the bus ride was so comfortable, the bus driver had to wake me up when it arrived at Khao San Road in Bangkok. Hehe!

Tired and sleepy, I looked for a nearby hotel. I wanted to sleep comfortably the last few days of my trip since I would be in the hotel more often and I had a lot of stuff to mind. I was able to find a room for THB550 a night. I guess that was ok but there were cheaper options but they were full or I was just too tired to walk around further. Sigh! I was off to bed as soon as I got to the room since I was going to visit another UNESCO World Heritage city, Thailand's former capital Ayutthaya, later in the morning.

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