|Another moving day, this time not too far, just over the Mekon and a 30 minute drive to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, our last new country on the trip. Breakfast at the Mut Mee was as good as eveything else there, I had porridge with bananas followed by smoked ham and a bagette with butter and jam. Angie had yoghurt with honey and a wholemeal bread roll and butter. I found my sunglasses which I had left in the bar the previous night. The only thing left to do was to pick up our laundry, squeeze everything into our rucksacks and check out. Oh I nearly forgot we also had to spray Angie with the insect bite stuff, she really is using up more than her fair share of this, with her 70 odd bites compared to my 5. We paid our bill, picked up our bags and walked around the corner to pick up a tuk tuk, for the 10 minute ride to the border. After being dropped off we were approached by a taxi driver who offered to take us to Vientiane from the Laos side of the border for $15, we agreed on $10 and he waited for us to go through Thai passport control, joined us on the shuttle bus service across the Friendship Bridge between the 2 countries. When on the Laos side he helped us at the visa window, once that was sorted we were ready. He went and picked up his car, an eight seater people carrier, which we loaded up with our bags and off we went.In most countries around here they drive on the right, although Thailand drive on the left, in Laos its officially the right, but it seems to be optional, if our drive into Vientiane is anything to go by. As we approached the centre of town, I thought it was weird that our driver hadnt asked us which hotel we were staying at, so I showed him the voucher. Surprise surprise he knew a cheaper one that was just as good and would take us there. I told him there was no point as we had prepaid for this hotel. He then had difficulty finding it, when he did eventually get us to the hotel he tried to say that it was $10 each, we had heard this scam from Hanoi to Phnom Penh and everywhere inbetween. I told him that was not what we agreed, we picked up our bags and left him outside.
The hotel, is really nice, with exceptionally large rooms and wifi that actually works in the rooms, so I dont have to sit outside at night to do this, putting myself at risk from all the critters and creepy crawlies,although I dont worry to much about them because they are far more attracted to Angie than me.
After checking out the room we had a wander along the bank of the Mekon into town. Vientiane is a small capital city, rather laid back and easy to walk around, with lots of bars and restaurants. I managed to get some money out of an ATM and we stopped to have lunch and a beer. We both had a rather fiery, Thai red curry, which left our mouths numb. We decided to get an ice cream on the way back to the hotel, but unfortunately couldnt find anywhere that sells them along the riverside, despite there being lots of shops and restaurants. So any entrepeneurs out there, there is a gap in the market for an ice cream seller along Vientianes riverside.
When back at the hotel we checked out the top floor restaurant, with lovely views across the Mekon, we obviously didnt eat, but had another bottle of Beerlao, the best beer in Asia. We then had a Laos massage in the massage parlour underneath the hotel. This wasnt as good as the Cambodian one we had, in fact Angie was in pain most of the time and reckons the girl who did it had something against her. After chillibg in our room for a while to get over the massage, we wandered into town for our evening meal. We went to a restaurant run by the same organisation whose restaurant we visited in Phnom Penh, where they train street kids. I had buffalo and potato stew with sticky rice, although not as good as the beef and red ants I had in phnom Penh, but still very tastey.