|We have no idea why it's called the Sandalwood City, even after spending 3 days here. Anyway, sounds nice and it was a great to rest after noisy/hectic Vietnam. It was the most relaxed capital city we have ever been to, more like a country town. Very little traffic, not much noise and the people are so chilled out. One day it rained quite heavily and if you would have wanted one, it was very hard to find a tuk-tuk or taxi - we think that they had just decided to stay in bed due to the rain.
We hired bikes for a day and cycled to Pha That Luang - Laos' national symbol and one of it's most sacred sites - via the Patuxai - a large arch like monument where we ended up giving english lessons to a couple of schoolkids for an hour. Another day we walked around the city centre and visited Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. We also spent a day doing nothing more than having a massage. Nice.
The food was also good, with more unusual roll-em-yourself spring rolls than Hue. Based on pork kebabs you put those in with lettuce, mint, corriandor, garlic, spring onion, cucumber, starfruit, fig, noodles, spicy sauce and lots of other herbs wrapped up in rice paper.
Oh yes and Beerlao is an excellent brew. We tested this out again and again. D solid, S not solid. We put this down to a change of climate. Vietnam: cold and wet, Laos: hot and humid. We head up to Vang Vieng tommorrow, by pick up truck. Should take 3 hours we hope.
Denis got camera-shy in Vientiane after one of the schoolkids thought he looked like Hagrid. He was then asked for JK Rowling's e-mail address and where Harry Potter lived. @$$@&