We are in Laos at the moment having crossed over the border from Thailand.
The best part of the crossing was the duty free shops selling wine at the border. Sarah need no invitation and a couple of bottles were purchased!Clink clink as we walked past Laos customs!! The first stop was the city of Vientiane. Obviously the sound of the citys name tells all about its French past, and thankfully (for us) the French food theme has hung around. For the first time in ages we had some really tasty baguettes. Vientiane is also home to the best 'Steak au poivre' outside of France. Needless to say we both indulged in some serious red meat action!
Anyway thats enough about all the food and drink. The city is fairly interesting as it is set by the Mekong river and often floods. The result being that the area around the river front is awash with sandbags. Millions of them. Laos itself is a really underdeveloped country and this is reaffirmed when you see all the white Toyota Landcruisers with 'UN' down the side. On our first night in Laos a small child came into the restaurant begging. All he wanted was one of our cans of coke. The last we saw of him he was wandering off into the night transfixed by this big can in his hands. Makes you stop and think.
After a few days in the capital we headed off to Luang Prabang which was an 8 hour bus journey (actually 10 hours) on roads ment for 4x4s. I know we keep banging on about our horrible bus journeys but this was the mother of them all. Truely horrendous! LP turned out to be a really superb place. A UNESCO site with really old colonial buildings etc. We met up with our Canadian friends again and had a really good laugh. The highlight was a 'Laos BBQ' which is like a fondue but you have a bbq built into your table. Bbq waterbuffalo has never tasted so good. We were given some other mystery meats but they stayed un-bbq'ed.We also had a superb guided bike ride of about 40+km which was the hottest work ever undertaken. The ride took us to some amazing waterfalls in the deepest jungle and a river boat trip. We literaly colapsed into bed that night.
After a couple of days in LP we all went on to Vang Vieng which is the home of 'Tubing'. This is where you hire a massive innertube and then jump into a river about 3km up from the town. As you float down the river there are various bars along the way which throw ropes out to you to pull you into their bar. All bars were playing Ibiza style music very loud. We have never felt so old! Some of the bars had ziplines and huge swings. So after numerous beers we decided to try them out. Sarah has picked up a zipline related injury where she hit the water a little too fast and now has a minor case of whiplash!! After the last bar on the river we set off for the town by which time it was now dark and the river was getting faster. Only by a good spot from Jodi and Bryan did we manage to get out at the right point. If they had not seen the right place we would have probably made it to Vietnam by now! Having woken up this morning with are both in agony with sore muscles all round. And Miss Whiplash has got whiplash!
We are off to Cambodia tomorrow with Vietnam Airlines and will be spending hopefully a week pr two down there before off the the Thai Islands for some beaches!!
Both well and having a great laugh
Will mail soon