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Published: September 4th 2009
So, after a bus ride from Vang Vieng to Vientiene, we scouted around town in search of a hostel. Unusually, we had to search for a while as some of them had no room, but all worked out in the end.
Unfortunately the first morning involved a very expensive trip to the Australian Embassy to visit a doctor for some antibiotics (all fine now - thank goodness for travel insurance!). Once that was dealt with, it was on to Vientiane, and it is not really what I expected from a capital city. It's funny to see the major things a capital has, such as a country wide newspaper headquarters...which is a tiny run down building, or a central bank, which is quite small! It's a funny place, with not a lot to do. A city without a soul some might say, without any offense meant! It has some interesting streets to wander, and French influenced bakeries and architecture which has made for a pleasant few days of relaxation.
I went to the National Museum, housed in an old French style building, and that was very interesting...well, downstairs was actually very uninteresting, but upstairs...was full of images from the French
occupation and the US bombings of Laos, it was fascinating and a good education as well. I learned that at the current rate of removal, Laos will be rid of all the Unexploded Ordinance in 200 years time.
There is a really interesting, but small museum on Unexploded Ordinance where you can donate to MAG (Mines Advisory Group http://www.maginternational.org/) and learn about the work they do to remove the UXO. There are some disturbing facts and pictures about the devastation caused, that is still ongoing. Well worth visiting, the damage has a far greater effect than I had realised.
I enjoyed wandering, and there was a couple of Wats to see - one of which has a monk school attached - there are many orange clad monks walking around in Vientiane. We enjoyed the sunset over the Mekong and some local roadside food - Laos is a particular fan of sticky rice, which is great because you can just pick it up with your fingers!
So, after a few relaxing days strolling in Vientiane, it was time to move on. I'm glad I had the time to relax and see the capital, but it's not somewhere I
will return too. Tonight I leave on a 12 hour overnight bus to Pakse....
J x x
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