Vientiane, the capital of Laos, was my last stop before returning to Hanoi. The girls and left Vang Vieng at 08:00. We got a big bus with lots of room, a shocking surprise! It was an easy 4 hours and no winding roads. Again, another shock!
Our first stop was to eat hamburgers because that’s what you do in Laos, right? The afternoon was spent drinking coffee and staring at our phones. Ok, we were all tired of traveling and we knew we had a lot of time!
The next day, we walked to Patuxai, the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane. From the outside, I could see it. A big arching monument that should be the center of the city. However, inside was just filled with souvenir shops.
Next, we headed to Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan). Even though it’s called “Buddha Park”, it’s more of a sculpture garden than a religious sight. Giant pumpkins and alligators are a bit difficult to explain. Something different, for sure.
My favorite part of Vientiane are the plumerias. These beautiful flowers are everywhere here. It doesn’t smell, but it’s pretty to look at.
COPE is an organization that helps out Laotians who have been affected with these unexploded bombs (UXO) that has been scattered around the country by the Americans. It’s sad that these organisations have to exist because American idealism. But this is a topic for another time…
Our nights in Vientiane were spent either walking to the mall to watch a movie (yes, I watched Zoolander 2 in Laos) or going to the night market.
Five days in Vientiane was plenty, probably too much time. But since Laos is quite bit and plane tickets are very expensive, I didn’t have much choice. And after almost 2 weeks of traveling with the girls, I had to say goodbye to the group.
This 3 month trip was a lot. I saw lots. I lost someone very dear to me. I had diarrhea. I gained new friends. But I’m happy to have it end now. I never thought I would say that I am looking forward to normalcy, but I am. Ask me again in a few months if I want normal. I’m pretty sure I’ll give you a different answer.