Friday, April 11, 2014

Vientiane, Laos

Lao bus station
In Vientiane, the streets are white hot.  In all of Laos the streets are white hot.  On the tuk-tuk going to the bus someone splashes me with a bucket of water—my first songkran blessing.

We find at least a couple of street food stands with sohm tam—which in Lao is tam sohm—and we cower against the sun.  The hotel room we settle on is on the third floor and rising upwards is like going into Dante’s innermost pit of hell.  They have free water refills on the ground floor, which, comparatively, was all garden and cool tile.  But I rise with the heat, up one floor, and then the next, and then to our little box with open windows facing the sun.

The market is along the Mekong, mainly Lao clothes vendors and Lao teenagers holding hands.  I find one shirt I almost buy and should have, in retrospect.  It says BOSTON MBSESTCHBTETSS or something like that.  I would have rocked that shirt.

The hotel room is intolerable so we only spend one night and take another tuk-tuk to another bus station and ride it back across the Thai border, thus squandering our thirty-day $35 Lao travel visa.  Thais came across for the day just to buy big bags of baguette.  Lao bakers know how to bake real French baguette, Thailand barely sells bread.  Another effortless border crossing, although my heart always does clench a little as I meet the officer’s eyes.

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