Day 238… We have a free morning to take in the sights of Hanoi before a short afternoon flight to Vientiane (approx 1 hour). I head out to the Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucius, which was great… also saw like 4 uni graduations being photographed there. After as quick stop at a local craft store i head back for lunch, passing on the way a street food hawker who had stopped shouting trying to sell his wares and, with no regard for personal safety, was eating one of them. The gang and I did some farewells to the last leg gang at a street food place that had previously had a film crew filming there… so it was all good. Then its off to the airport and off to Laos.
Possibly Asia’s most laidback capital, Vientiane is a city where daily affairs are conducted at a relaxed pace. Hardly touched by the modernisation that has completely changed the face of other cities in South-East Asia, Laos still has a wealth of cultural delights to discover – on foot, or for the less energetic, by jumbo (tuk tuk). But we get in and head to dinner for tasty food and an entrepreneur of salted crickets… then and glorious ice cream smoothie before calling it a night. But before I sign off today… may I say I do not understand 1 thing about Laos… and that is this. For a developing asian country it is very expensive. Now the thing that does my head in is this… every single restaurant we have been to has been woefully under staffed… to the extent that every time our tour guide has had to help take orders… take payment… serve us AND COOK OUR FOOD! I am sure that is not a job requirement most of the time… why this country is sooo slooowww at doing food (hell we have been turned away when places were closed, out of food other simply unable to accommodate anyone… why open?). Hell 1 time I HAD to clear away tables to help out!