Sleepy Frustrating City
05.08.2019 - 09.08.2019 29 °C
Ok, so today I lost my shit with how frustrating it is to get anything done in this country. I understand things are not the same as NZ but come on. I think today was a build up of frustration over the last couple of months and it is very evident that a lot of SE Asia is not interested in catering to the tourists, be under no illusions, they are only interested in your money, Period.
Laos is probably the most obvious in this regard as everything they do is to ass rape the tourist in the wallet. Now don`t get me wrong, I am not saying Laos is expensive, however there is a clear distinction between what the tourists pay and what the locals pay, for instance I went to a few local museums and temples yesterday and what the tourists pay is more than 3 times what the locals pay. Also, it is widely publicised that they understand English in Laos but this does not appear to be the case. Also the Tuk Tuk drivers in Laos are the biggest crooks in SE Asia. Asked one this morning to take me to an ANZ ATM and he asked for the equivalent of $9 NZD, I told him I would walk and lucky I did as I found one about 1km away. After telling him I would walk the price suddenly halved and this is not the first time it has happened, they asked for $45 NZD for another ride I queried and when I refused it suddenly went down to $20 NZD.
Don`t even get me started on the food, I was under the impression that food in SE Asia was good. Hell no it isn`t, well haven`t experienced good food yet, as of yesterday I am now vegetarian for the rest of my trip. This is for the safety of my stomach as clearly nobody here can cook meat. Not sure how you can balls up deep fried chicken wings but apparently you can. Had them last night with blood still oozing, Mmmmmm yum.
Quiet day today but went for a walk around the city after arriving last night. Stupidly hot today, I think the weather report says 34 degress and feels like 42 because of the humidity.
In the centre of the city is a sacred stupa that they call "That Dam" they believe it is inhabited by a Naga (half serpent half man). Never saw him though and never showed up in any of the photos, Hahaha.
Like a lot of SE Asia, there is a large French influence. In Laos there is many old buildings and houses that have been left to rot, Hopefully one day somebody will restore these, although it would cost huge amounts of money. I snapped these pictures of an old French house opposite That Dam
Down by the Mekong river they have a market every night, it seems to be targeted at the tourists but it was interesting. You can get all kinds of food here as well but choose wisely as the quality varies greatly.
Me having a beer at a rooftop bar overlooking the Mekong River.
Today started with a visit to Ho Pha Keo Museum which is more of a temple. This place interested me as it was in very good condition compared to many of the temples I have seen in the last few months due to having been rebuilt several times. It was originally built in 1565 to house the emerald buddha. You will also see how large it is as some of the photos have people in them so you can get an idea of the scale of this place.
These carvings were on the grounds and have been done in old tree trunks. Thought these were a bit different but not sure if the photos really do them justice.
Second stop for the day was a monument they call Patuxai which means Victory Gate and was dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. It is 7 stories high and from the top you have an amazing view of the city.
Final stop of the day was "That Luang" which is a gold covered Buddhist stupa that is regarded as the most important national monument in Laos.
Me on the bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng, it is a 5 hour trip so going a bit stir crazy.