|ahhhhhhhh. When a capital city lays its head to rest at 10:00pm, you know you are in a country that values tranquility and shakes its head at chaos like that found in Vietnam. We had heard that travelers arriving in Vientiane after Bangkok or Hanoi will be in awe at the quiet that abounds. Where are all the people? we wondered. But then we realized that in a country of only 4.5 million, compared to 85 million in Vietnam, and 86 in Thailand, that even the capital city is going to seem desolate to us.
Arriving at the bus station, (after giving our last good evil glares to Devil-Woman) we were amazed that there were only 2 tuk-tuks awaiting the passengers. Normally you have to prepare yourself for stepping down off the bus: small backpack strapped tightly to you, small bills for payment in the pocket, decide who will make a bee-line for the bags underneath the bus and who will investigate a decent fair for a ride into town, all the while trying not to get too frustrated by the 12 men that have surrounded you shouting 'Madam!, Tuk-tuk, 'madam, I have hotel, very cheap for you,' 'TUK-TUK!!'you have hotel?'
There was none of that here in Vientiane, and we found ourselves crammed in the back of a jumbo with 9 other fellow bus passengers making our way into central Vientiane, with only a soft bed in mind to relieve us of the 23 hour bus butt pain.
Situating ourselves in a pleasant little guesthouse right on the Mekong, we busied ourselves over the next few days with 'taking it easy.' That bus ride had robbed a great deal of patience and energy from us, and we knew that to continue on, the next couple days needed to be void of plans, or any sort of travel.
We enjoyed small simple meals on the banks of the Mekong, wandering the quiet streets of the city, renting a motorbike to take in the outlying Temples and sights, experiencing Laos bowling (same as at home, but the Laos people seem to have more fun), and enjoying a book and an afternoon thunderstorm. It was super nice, and super needed.
Vientiane is not a magnificent nor beautiful city, and it lacks any charm, really. But for us it offered the perfect dose of calm and rejuvination.