Preserving some cash in Laos

Saturday 2nd May 2009

In Lao we intended to stay near the border but we had 10,000 Laos kip left after the cost of the visa and the nearest ATM was 10k away so we decided to get a bus out of there.

Thankfully a company let us get on, promising to pay them when we got to Savannaket because we had no money! For our massive 10,000 kip (about 80p) we got 2 bottles of water, 5 cobs of bread and 2 bundles of rice wrapped in banana leaves, nice!! We like Laos already, they charge us tourists 50p-80p for water in Vietnam..

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6 hours later we arrived in Savannaket after picking up a guy who’d had a motorbike accident and had clearly not been wearing a hemlet.

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I thought we were takng him to a hospital but we dropped him in the middle of nowhere. He apparently lives in the middle of nowehere. And here we are in Savannaket!! On first appearances it’s a nice little place, cheap. Our hotel is only about 7 quid air-conned.

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It’s not too busy but we still found a little bar for beers.

I’ve no idea what we’ll do in Laos or how long we’ll stay in any place. We have one place to be and that’s Bangkok to meet Sarah mid May but in the meantime, Laos is our oyster.

Goodbye for now, the Laos beer (which is also very good) is calling!

Sunday 3rd May 2009

It appears that the people here are very very laid back. It’s much like the attitude people have in Thailand but after Vietnam there’s a BIG contrast. We have met a couple of people who have just left Vietnam who are also glad to see the back of it. One couple from Malta extended their 30 day visa to a 60 day visa on arrival in Vietnam but disliked the attitude of the people so much that they left very early on. The ignorance in Vietnam will probably kill tourism for the country. I didn’t believe the other travellers when they said the people were just plain rude…

Anyway we woke up this morning quite later, about 11am. It seems we needed the sleep after the busy last few days. It was nice to wake up and think “today I’m not going to have to argue about being short changed, served the wrong food, ripped off or completely ignored”. It’s hard to think that Vietnam, being as beautiful as it is has a population that really doesn’t know how to handle or communicate with foreigners. There are some very nice people there but unfortunately there are also a lot of not very nice people who ruin it for everyone. We made the most of it but spending the day today in Laos with nice local people we find it hard to believe that we’d ever go back.

We got up too late to check out this morning so we decided to wander around the town and see what was going on. The vibe we got was nice, everybody was friendly and smiling and far too busy doing their own thing to think of us as walking money trees. Just nice and relaxing 🙂 We found a really nice place called the Leena guest house round the corner. You get a lot more for similar money so we’re going to check in tomorrow. There are lots of travellers so it seems a good place to settle for a few days.

We have decided that between now and when Sarah arrives in Bangkok in 3 weeks we’ll probably visit the nice city of Vientiane and Vang Vieng for the tubing down the Mekong river. As Sarah has put it, I will have to “grow a pair” and not worry about the lurking creatures! Other than that, it’s relaxation all the way!!!

To put a long story short we’re glad to be out of Vietnam, back to where people like tourists, where we can have some fun and chill out 🙂 The next 3 weeks will probably be very laid back compared to when Sarah gets to Thailand where we’ll be checking out Bangkok again, coastal cities, the islands (Full moon party!!) and taking a trip to Kuala Lumpur!

Tuesday 5th May 2009

Hello everybody. Not much to say about the last few days apart from Savannaket has been very relaxing. This morning we got up late for change 😉 We enjoyed sitting in the baking sun having a brew outside our room and then getting a lovely noodle soup breakfast.

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We have just been out for a nice prawn and rice dinner and a couple of beers. Today we spalshed out and spent a tenner at the spa. I got a facial and Taz got a leg and foot massage. We were in there for about 90 minutes and I fell asleep! Good times. We are considering a motorbike adventure tomorrow, before moving to a different place within Laos. Last night we found out that last minute, Taz’s cousin Anneka is also coming over to Thailand on the same day as Sarah for a couple of weeks. More the merrier! I’m sure it will be lots of fun!

Jem and Taz x

Ps – Well done Harry for doing great in your bike riding competition!!

Friday 8th May 2009

We are still in little Savannaket and seem reluctant to leave. We have found it so relaxing that we feel it’s a place we need after all the hellishness and business of the other places we’ve been.
The other day we went for a jog and it was like running around a safari park. We used goats, cows and other animals as markers incase we got lost. After half an hour we turned around to find the markers had moved grazing spots! Once we left the little street with the little shops on it and really got into the sticks the people unsurprisingly stared. It was an unexplanable feeling, but nice to have them try and work us out. The people driving by in their trucks just couldn’t help having a look at the odd pair running down the dusty road! The kids in the back all shouted “sabydee” and waved. The roads are nice to explore by footand take in the surroundings. Our only interuption was letting the cattle cross every now and then, or stopping to stroke the goats.

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Last night we were sat watching HBO with cheese butty’s and M&M’s when Taz freaked out. Ants. Lots and lots of ants seemed to haved crawled out from somewhere and into his M&M bag and all over his pillow and all over him!! The ants got a good spraying and we went back to eating my M&M’s and watching HBO! Problem solved.

I have been reading other blogs today and we think we may head to Viettiane soon. Although we really like it here…

Monday 11th May 2009

Well we finally moved from Savannakhet! We had to pay for 7 nights at our brill, lovely, very comfortable hotel and it came to a massive fifty quid including 3kg of laundry.. expensive hey?!
We got the 3 hour bus to Pakse which turned into the 6 hour sauna on wheels to Paske.

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All worth it though. First impressions are good. We got a motorbike and sidecar taxi thing to a hotel – very funny so I videoed it and will show you when I get back. We had some tasty Indian food and a beer for tea.

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Tomorrow we’re going to explore the area. If I haven’t mentioned this already, it’s really unbelieveably hot here in Laos. The sun is always blaring and it’s only rained once since we got here so getting about during the day is toture! Hence when we have been hiding in an aircon room for a week!

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There’s never even a hint of wind to make it more bearable!

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Sunday 17th May 2009

This last week in Pakse has been a pretty lazy time. Other than drinking brews, jugs of beer and very cheap rum we haven’t been up to much. Just conserving our money for when our visitors arrive next week, trying to function on nothing but noodle soup…

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The other day it was that hot we invested in a 6,000 bottle of rum and decided to start drinking it at 4pm in the comfort of the air-con room. By 10pm we were flat out because we’d been down to the bar for a few jugs of Lao beer. They’re very good value, 15000 kip for a litre which is just over a quid and it’s quite strong. It’s a nice cheap way to get through the heat of the day 😉

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Today isn’t so rosy. Yesterday I was feeling a little bit off and today very dodgy. Taz woke up at the crack of dawn saying he was freezing even though he felt boiling. So he’s been in bed all day sleeping it off (whatever it is?!) and I’ve been wandering around this little town trying to find drugs! It’s not often I go out alone over here, the opportunity just doesn’t seem to pop up, so that was an experience its self… I think people are more curious to see me wandering about alone than when with Taz and they’re very inquisitive! All I could find was a roadside chemist looking place and the woman kept saying “go to doctor” but she apparently didn’t know where one was. So I bought some cold medicine and something for an upset stomach and we’re hoping this does the trick… watch this space.

Also – Good luck to Sarah with the run this morning!!!!!!!!!!! You can do it!!!!!!!!!!

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