Vientiane Culture

Lucky for you guys, I’m feeling like two posts in a span of 24 hours. Is this unprecedented or maybe Laos is just rubbing off on me? So, in honor of my love for Laos (sorry fellow Thais).. I shall  continue where I left off…

Crossing into the land of Laos proved to be a series of bus jumping and checkpoints. However, a final ten minute tuk-tuk ride later and we have found ourselves in Vientiene, the capital city of Laos. There is nothing distinctive about the town; in fact if someone dropped me off here or showed me a video for a double-or-nothing jeopardy clip, I would fail miserably. There is no city center or declaratory national signage, no large sky scrapers, no efficient public works system. The only remnants of colonization are the French street signs, baguettes, and the occasional columned architecture. Honestly without these elements, and the disappearance of 7/11’s. Note: I did not see any of the twinkling fluorescent lights of the 7/11 while in Laos, no Changs, and no pineapple. What a contradiction to the normalized life I have established in Thailand.  However other than trivial details like these, Vientiane seems to be a continuation of a small yet bustling town in Thailand… except slightly more impoverished. The people seem to be kind if not kinder, the bicycles and motorcycles swarm around us untamed, and food is readily available on the streets.

For us, Vientiane is only a temporary stopover. We have plans to head northward, on a journey to the oasis of Vang Vieng, which is approximately three hours from the border. Following a Lao man, we weave through the alleyways and streets, grab a baguette that we could never find so handily in Thailand, and board a small minivan with two other Thai women and a Vietnamese guy around our same age. Packed in like sardines we head onward…

the herd behind us in Vientiane

baguettes line the streets here. this woman drew my interest; she seemed so worn by weather and work

a stop in a make-shift convenient store in Lao... filled with only BeerLao (commercialized nationalism?)

and outside...baskets used to serve warm sticky rice suggest that old customs still exist

so we board our 3-hour shuttle savior... only 1.25 hours left until Vang Vieng

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