Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vientiane - a mix of paris, havanna, pattaya and nong khai

After the mind-numbing but amazing trip from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, I had hoped for some city athmosphere in Vientiane. I knew that Vientiane is about the smallest capital in the world, and that's how it felt.
I managed to stay at one of the Western embassies due to the connections of my friend who has a uni-friend working there. The host, a girl has just about everything in common with me that a girl can have. She loves living in Asia, she loves languages, she loves Asian guys (in particular one), she works at an embassy (I hope I can do that too one day) so we had a blast!!!

Vientiane is an odd place. It has a large amount of official buildings but they are so derelict I felt like I was - ahm, not in the present. Vientiane also has a central axis from the Presidential Palace to the Arc de Triomphe and the famous golden stupa - all kinda similar to the layout of Paris. But that's where the similarities end.

The square next to the golden stupa looked as Soviet as things can get - huge, made of nothing but concrete, somehow shabby but strangely charming and teeming with people! The riverside of Vientiane reminded me of any random Thai town. It had cheap eateries and tables on the river for "late" drinking sessions. Only that late in Lao standards is like 10pm and the beer was Beer Lao, which is actually really tasty!

The centre of vientiane however, called "farangtown" by my lovely host, reminded me of a quiet pattaya. The bloody ho's were everywhere!! I couldnt believe it. Here I am in peaceful and innocent Laos and there are heaps of whores! Luckily I was with two girls already, so none picked on me.

Twice, my friends and I went to a place in the centre of town where there are a few pool tables and an open-air bar on the top floor. We played pool most of the time but since we were only 3 people, we invited the local bartender to play with us. the first night I didnt think much of him, except that he is a nice but very very quiet man. The second night however, it started to dawn on me. He was into me!!!

How did I find out? subtle, subtle hints. We played together in a team and everytime he gave me the queue to play, he stood right next to me etc. It was kind of cute. He was a sweet man, but very very we hardly talked. The last night, I left in a hurry because I had just lost a game 4:3 and if there is one thing I CAN NOT STAND then it is losing!!!

The next day, my friend and I went on the the wild and beautiful centre of Laos, more of that soon!

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