I'm Just Here For The Food

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Vientiane

Entering a new county just doesn't have the same thrill anymore, at least not like it did when I fist landed in Vietnam. I think it's because when you enter a new place, especially by plane, it all looks the same. The excitement isn't from just being there, but it now comes fom what I experience there. I mean when I got off the plane in Hanoi, I know I was somewhere else, it was jsut so different then whee I had been. All of this is to say, that when I landed in Vientiane Lao, I wasn't eally excited to 'be in Lao', but by the end of the day all that changed.

Everyone I had talked to about their travels always said Lao was one of thei favourite counties. I was only planning on spending a week here, but eveyone's opinion made me think differently, maybe I thought, I should give it more time. We'll see. I'm in no rush. I have just under two months to go, and Lao and Thailand are really the only counties I have left to visit (Sory Malaysia). So with that, I took a flight from Siem Reap to Vientiane, a city I was told, that just wasn't worth a lot of time. Further North is supposedly better.

In a lot of ways people turned out to be right about Vientiane, it is rather dull, and only worth a few days, but it has its charm, and I think it was a good introduction to Lao. The first thing you notice in Lao, and which is a little off putting at first is that no one really pays attension to you, they just kind of ignore you, but not in a rude way. At first you think there is something wrong, and then suddenly it clicked for me. Lao is the country I wished every county was like. There are no people trying to sell you stuff every few feet. If you say no to one tuk-tuk driver all the rest don't harass you for rides. Lao just kind of lets you be to do your own thing. If you need a tuk-tuk you know where to find them. IT'S AWESOME. You can actually catch your breath, open a guide book, and not suddenly be surounded by kids. Lao might just be the best country in South East Asia.

It also might be the best county because of two other things: Beer Lao, which is definitly the best beer in South East Asia, and I can't wait to try Beer Lao Dark. The other is Lap (or Laap, Larp, Larb). This stuff is awesome. I've made Larp at home, but never knew what it was supposed to taste like and now I do. Larp is so good, that I think I might have to dedicate an entie post to it, so you just have to wait fo pictures. I'm also going to see if thee is a cooking course so I can learn it myself. Lao is geat. Might be time to look into that Visa extension.

So how did I spend my first day in Lao? Well I went to a Buddhist monestay out in the woods and got an herbal sauna and an hour massage all for $4. It was quite the experience. You enter the gates of the monestary and walk a path until you reach this bamboo stilt house. There you undress, put on a sarong, and go sit in a sauna infused with herbs, and just sweat your ass off as the herbs penetrate your skin and lungs. It was crazy hot in there, and at times you felt as if you couldn't breathe. After getting out you sit there and have some tea while you cool down, and wait for your massage. The massage itself was unlike any other. They bent me in ways no should be, but it felt great, and after a long day of travelling it was a great stess relief. You look beside you, and there's a monk just being manhandled like you just were. It's very cool. Not a bad way to begin in Lao, not bad at all

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