Thursday, 20 November 2008

Don't bother

Ah Vientiane. Why this is the capital, rather than Luang Prabang, I'll never know. OK, so it's a little bigger. But it is truly devoid of anything of interest. The food was good, but that's about it. It didn't help that we got there late, and there was no bloody accommodation. The place we got was the pits. There were that many brown splashes across the walls, it looked like Peter Sutcliffe had been having a drunken party. He'd have lost his deposit on the place, let's put it that way.

So we decided to have a few beers and stay out to avoid going back there. Any excuse. On returning, we drank the guesthouse fridge dry, sitting outside playing some tunes. And being accosted by ladyboys. A Canadian-raised Dutch fellow approached us and sat to have a natter. Just turned 60, apparently. Mohawk haircut and serious tattoos. I'll post some pictures later. He was a proper character with some great stories. Some of them a little tall, the SS shooting at his mother when she was carrying him in her arms during WWII. He'd been brought up in Canada, and regaled us with allsorts of tales of failed marriages to local women, beer, drugs, tattoos and the like. I said "Papillon" and pointed at the butterfly on his chest when I first saw the tats. The youngsters in the group didn't understand, so I started telling the story of Henri Charriere's escape from French Guiana and Devil's Island. He said "I'm glad you're telling the story...I thought people didn't know". So I carried on for a few seconds til he interrupted and told it himself. This went on a few times, until I gave up. And there was me thinking I was a bigmouth who wouldn't shut up? Christ on a bike, this boy could talk. Very entertaining company, though...and I got some great shots of him. It's the characters you meet who make travelling what it is...

Thankfully, myself and Jamal were heading for Bangkok on the overnight train in the morning, the rest heading for 'Nam and Laos's Four Thousand Islands.

So the gist is...don't bother going to Vientiane. Luang Prabang and North, I would suggest.

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