Laos - Vientiane

On the flight to Laos I was sat next to a Malay man who asked me where I was going. This seems a strange question to ask when you're sat next to someone on the same plane. I replied 'Laos I hope, why where's the plane going?'. I think it was all a bit that film with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson because he just smiled and nodded, we both tried doing conversation but the smiling and nodding was our only common ground.

Landing in Vientiane I grouped up with some other Westerners to share a taxi in to town and we all stayed in the same guest house. I was sharing with a friendly but slow English man who has been travelling for 2 years. I later found out that the reason he's slow is because he has taken quite a lot of drugs. Next door were an American girl and an interesting English man called Gavin who had had an impressive life. Gavin left school without qualifications having felt unchallenged. By 18 he was manager of the bakery he worked in having impressed when his boss was off ill and soon after he was head hunted to manage another place. At 20 he realised he was quite good at management and took the audacious step of setting up his own management consultancy firm. His philosophy: Find out what the customer wants you to do then do it. Makes sense to me and though he had some failures I can guess that he has plenty in the bank - because he never mentioned how much he makes. Anyone else I've met who has started businesses or worked with big companies has slipped some big numbers for deals made in to conversations. I took Gavin's details for facebook so that if I decide to start my 'I do like a t-shirt' business I can get some advice, oh and also because I like him.

The four of us took the Lonely Planet's advice and went to the bowling alley. 90p a beer and 90p a game. Good way to spend a night.

Disclaimer: Now that I'm home it has been said that my blog makes me out to be a drunk. I do drink quite a lot but there have also been lots of days whilst travelling when I haven't. Problem is, those days are spent on buses, beaches and in guest houses, reading or watching films. I don't write about that stuff because it's boring. Actually some of the books and films have been good so maybe I should relate the plots to you and pick out their highlights and that way it will dilute the amount of drunken blog content.

To sum up, if this blog makes it sound like I drank 90% of the time I only really drank 60% of the time.

So after the bowling we played some pool and then avoided the 12 o'clock curfew applied to the centre of town by going with a gay local to a club. It was full of gays, cross dressers and prostitutes, or if they weren't prostitutes I was looking seriously hot that night. At around 4am a Nigerian man claiming to be a DJ persuaded us to join him for a party. Had I been on my own my racial stereotyping against the one black in the village would mean there's no way I'd have gone with this man but with 4 of us I figured we'd be okay. When he answered his phone and said there was no party any more I got a bit worried but he dropped us back at our hostel and I felt bad for spending the whole trip on edge. In bed I battled to work out if I was just being rightly cautious or if that was racism. I think it's a question for cleverer people than me.

Full day in Vientiane.
Plan: See the sights, walk to the main temple a couple of hours out of town.
Half an hour in to the day, new plan: Stay within running distance of a toilet.
I managed to visit a couple of centrally located temples one housing over 2000 little buddhas but the day was not much fun. Imodium helped, only having one small beer at these prices proves just how cack I felt.

Next city VangVieng.