Friday 2nd of January 2015 and I stopped for an omelette and a baguette for breakfast on the way to the motorcycle shop. I asked for the “off road racer” and I handed him my driving licence.
He asked for my passport and I told him that they had accepted my driving license last time. And the sticker they had put on my driving license was still there. Now he wanted to call the manager.
I took my driving license and I left. I stopped at a tour operator and he had nothing to offer. The waterfall was dry and I didn't want to see any caves. I left, what to do?
Walking up and down the road here in Vang Vieng is getting boring. It is the same people you see and it is a wee bit embarrassing when you say hello to the same tourist for the third time in 4 hours. Foock it!
I decided to leave Vang Vieng and I want to go to Vientiane. I went back to Riverside Garden Bungalows and I asked if I could have my car today instead of tomorrow.
He made a few calls and the car would be here to pick me up at 1 o'clock. I packed my bag and I left the Riverside Garden Bungalows behind without any backward glances. I have been living in some very bad rooms since I came to Laos. Riverside Garden Bungalows, well 30 US Dollars per night and I think this is the Christmas and New Year's prices.
This place was a typical 10 US Dollars per night, then it would have been good.
Well, we took off and we expect it to take about 3 hours to Vientiane. First we made a stop at a bus stop and I had the feeling that the driver tried to find other passengers to join us for Vientiane. OK, believe me, I was very quick to put an end to his plans to fill up the car as I had paid for a trip alone in the car.
We were soon on the way again and next stop was in his village where is wife and son came to pick up something from the car. We were on our way again after 5 minutes or so. I had been out of the car to take some pictures while he was talking with his wife. Now I hope we can make it to Vientiane without any more stops.
We stop at the village
We stop at the village
We stop at the village
I was surprised to find the road in a much worse condition between Vang Vieng and Vientiane than the road had been from Luang Prabang. That stretch had actually been quite good and we had been hauling arse making it to Vang Vieng in record breaking time, 3 and a half hour.
This driver was something else, he opened the window and he started to sneak a plastic bottle out of the window to throw it on the road as this is the normal practice in this part of the world.
He looked at me (I had complained about the Lao people destroying their country with all the garbage) hoping that I was looking the other way. Well, I like to relax in the car, but you are usually finding out what kind of guy you have behind the wheel in a few minutes time. And this guy, I kept my eye on him all the time and it was impossible to relax.
I had to tell him not to talk on the phone and now he was trying to sneak out the garbage through the window. I exploded in the back.
- TWAT!!! DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!
He was embarrassed when he put the bottle on the dash board. And this nitwit had a son about 4 years old and I asked him how he wanted Laos to look like when his son was 20 years old. He didn't understand my point.
After a while he started with the “Farang have so much money” routines and I asked him why. He didn't know and I told him that we had education and we could figure out things. And if you're in Sweden you don't see any garbage laying around.
I was in Europe, North Western part and it was refreshing to find people being able to add 5 to 5 without having to call a friend or to use a calculator. This is of course changing quickly as the schools in Sweden are going downhill very quickly.
And for sure, we need to go to school to learn how to drive, especially if we're in charge of a vehicle that carry passengers. We learn not to overtake going up a hill. What's behind the top of a hill? A 5 year old child? I 40 tons truck coming up the other side in 200?
And we know not to overtake a vehicle in a bend as we can't see around the bend.
I didn't relax for even a second in the back of the car. When we approached Vientiane he tried to get me in to a TUK TUK for the last stretch. I told him to get going, I was for sure not getting in to a TUK TUK. I was a wee bit upset and he understood the seriousness and he got the car on the road again.
I told him that I had paid 104 US Dollars for a private car and I was NOT going in TUK TUK. The problem was that he didn't know where the hotel were. I told him to ask for the way, and the Manager at the Riverside Garden Bungalows had explained where to go and he said he knew the place when we left Vang Vieng.
We had to get a permit before we entered Vientiane and we stopped at a bus terminal. When we approached Down Town Vientiane he asked me where the hotel was. I could not believe my ears. I'm a tourist and I know foock all about Vientiane and I told him to get out of the car to ask for directions. We stopped and he got out of the car. He was just standing on the sidewalk looking around with half open mouth.
Well, I don't want to tell you what I thought. But it seems like the simplest things are too much. Well, I got out and I stopped a TUK TUK and he could ask for the way.
It was nice to leave the van and driver behind, I went inside and I checked in. It was so nice to check in to a nice and clean hotel. I would have gone crazy if I had stayed one more night at Riverside Garden Bungalows.
And a real restaurant, and it was a clean restaurant. I ordered the green curry and a baguette. And it was very nice food so I had made a good choice with this hotel.
I get a pot of tea
Chicken in sweet green curry
I get rice for my curry
And a baguette
It was a very nice room and I was very happy with the food in the restaurant. I have nightmares about my room in Vang Vieng, and the first night in Luang Prabang at the Luang Prabang Oasis - Villa Namnuea. It was like the house of horror. So I was very happy that I had left the room in Vang Vieng even though I had paid for the room.
I walked down to the Mekong Riverfront and the first thing I discover is a Dairy Queen. It was 4 or 5 years ago I was in Vientiane last time and here have been changes, big changes.
I decided to go check out the hotel I lived at last time I was in Vientiane. I walked along the Mekong River and I could see Thailand on the other side of the Mekong River.
There were plenty people walking along the river.
There was a market and as no surprise they sold exactly the same things they sell at all the other markets, let it be Thailand, Laos or wherever in the world. And the tourists are walking around looking, must be the worst sign for any tourist. There is nothing interesting to do for visitors so they open a night market.
I continued towards the hotel and it was a tar road going along Mekong River now. When I was here last time the riverfront was a huge pothole. So they had really given Vientiane a face lift, and lo and behold. I discovered a trash can along the road. So there is hope for Laos. Well, maybe, I don't keep my hopes too high.
I reached my hotel and the last few hundred meters of the riverfront had turned in to outdoor restaurants. Last time I was here there was nothing. No pavement, no river front walk.
Just trucks going down to the river to get sand.
Last time I was here there were a few Thai people coming from a medical supplier or something like that in Bangkok. They were here for 2 days and we were sitting outside the hotel drinking Beer Lao and screaming 2 o’clock in the morning.
Well, those days are behind us now as I have grown old, responsible and bald. I turned around when I reached the hotel and I walked back towards the market and the town. I had stopped at Green Discovery next to the hotel when I left.
I will go back there to see if they can arrange a full day tour tomorrow. I will ask them to recommend something interesting in the area. I will hopefully be able to get a full day touring tomorrow so I can kill my day in Vientiane before leaving for Pakse on Sunday.
I stopped at the Dairy Queen for an ice cream before I left for my hotel. I passed a sign and it turned out to be an ad for the Lao Experience, a Lao food cooking course. There was a web address and a phone number. I took a picture to check it out when I was back at the hotel.
I stopped at Green Discovery and they really didn't had anything interesting to spend a day on. There were some cave and city tours and I was really not interested. I remembered my picture of the cooking course.
I asked about cooking courses but they didn't had any of these, actually, they had never heard of any cooking courses. I showed them my picture and they called Lao Experience.
We were soon in touch with Lao Experience and the course was 70 US Dollars. I told them that I was only interested in the Sweet Green Curry Chicken. We agreed that they would pick me up at the hotel 08:30 tomorrow morning.
We would leave my hotel at 8 thirty and we would start the day at the morning market and then we would go back to the school and cook food. I was very happy when I left Green Discovery behind.
This was not a part of Green Discovery's program. But I paid them and they will give the money to Lao Experience. I walked to the hotel, 2 minutes away. I checked my pictures from today and I was soon off to bed as I had asked for a 6 o'clock wake-up call tomorrow.
I'm all excited over the cooking class tomorrow and I really looking forward to this adventure. Maybe I can make the chicken in sweet green curry when I'm back home. You just have to click HERE to find yourself in the middle of the cooking adventure.
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