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The_Munchmaster

10 Days In The Kingdom Of Laos

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Day 8 (8 December 2012)

Day 8 and it was time to go back to Vientiane but I really could have done with a few more days in Luang Prabang, it was so beautiful, laid back and relaxing.

I was on QV102 leaving Luang Prabang at 13.30 and getting into Vientiane at 14.15 and guess who was waiting at the airport for me, yes it was Coss! He dropped me off at my hotel, took his car to be valeted and then picked me up on hoof about half an hour later.

A short walk from my hotel was the Lao National Museum so we headed there for a visit. Again no entrance fee just a donation box, which Coss donated to, and again no photographs although Coss snapped a few with his phone.

“The Lao National Museum was founded as the national museum highlighting the revolution of the 1970s and is located in a French colonial building. In 2007, the USA donated a grant to help develop the museum.This museum, which was originally built in 1925 as the French governor’s residence, presents the history of Laos, highlighting the Laotian people’s struggle to free the country from foreign occupiers and imperialist forces. It is located on Samsenthai road, opposite the Cultural Hall.â€

Better than the other museums, but still not great.

 

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After, we wandered around to the valet garage and waited a while for Coss’s car to be finished. Very nice waiting room with food and drink available and a pretty girl to attend to you. After about half an hour it was ready and unable to think of anything else to do we headed for the Sunset Bar, although we stopped at a shop on the way for me to pick up some half coronas.

Laos Tuk Tuk

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Fruit Vendors

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10 LBL (Large Beer Laos) plus some Phat Thai for me and the bill including decent tip was Baht 770.

An announcement that all cars failed their MOT

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I suppose this is why we’ve called it the Sunset Bar

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I'm not sure if a communist guerrilla group that finally won thanks to North Vietnam's help constitutes a revolution. What happened was that after South Vietnam fell to the communists, Hanoi's troops said to hell with the coalition goernment in Laos and installed the Pathet Lao in charge. The Pathet Lao called for an election the next day. When voters got to the polls, they found a ballot that had only one name for each office.

 

A colleague whose family later fled and were settled in Oz tells me she remembers how the North Vietnamese anthem was played on the radio every morning before the Lao communist anthem. Even as a kid she wondered why they were playing another country's anthem. Just so happen that the first Pathet Lao PM was half-Vietnamese and had grown up in Vietnam. Much of the new leadership was half-Vietnamese too. The Lao refugees still consider Laos to be a Vietnamese satellite.

 

p.s. I recall the National Museum is resembling something a group of high school students might slap together. :p

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Day 9 (9 December 2012)

 

Mid afternoon I wandered around to Khop Chai Deu, a popular bar restaurant very near to my hotel, for a late lunch. Had a plate of Phat Thai, which was very good, and of course a LBL (Baht 170 + tip).

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Khop Chai Deu Christmas decorations.

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After I took a walk along the Mekong, which didn’t have a lot of water in it and then worked my way back to my hotel via a different route.

A statue of someone important.

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According to these billboards this is how the Vientiane skyline is going to look?

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Not a lot of water, but then there never is.

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They could learn a thing or two about pavement maintenance if they visited Luang Prabang.

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Lots of smoke free signs around. Smoking in bars and restaurants is OK though.

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In the the evening I went to an Indian restaurant Coss had suggested called the Taj Mahal, however I was less than impressed with the food. Cheap as chips (Baht 240 for a chicken curry, aloo gobi (cauliflower and potato), two nan breads and a LBL) but I’d rather have paid a lot more for a lot better.

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After I made my way round to the Bor Pen Yang bar which I’d been to on my second night and hung out there for a couple of hours. 2 LBL and 3 G+T’s (Baht 400 + tip).

On the way home I stopped at a 7-11 type store to get a few provisions and donated Kip 10,000 (sounds a lot) to a poorly chap.

Once again I was approached by a couple of lasses on my walk back to my hotel, but declined them both (politely of course).

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The statue is of Chao Anouvong (to use the French spelling). He was the last king of Wiengchan and the communists have tried to make him into a national hero. Actually, he screwed up big time! Laos was a tributary state to Siam at the time, but completely self-governing. In 1827, Anuwong heard the British had arrived in Bangkok and thought it was an invasion. (It wasn't; they were signing a treaty.) He declared complete independence and led his armies to invade Siam! He captured Khorat and got within about a days march of Bangkok. Then he learned the truth and that the Thai armies were after him. He said "cheep hai" and headed back home in a hurry. His armies were defeated and he was captured. He died a prisoner in Bangkok. The angry King Rama III also ordered Anuwong's city of Wiengchan to be levelled, and it was a ghost town for decades afterwards. Anuwong's rebellion insured that Issan stayed Thai, instead of becoming part of Laos again.

 

The Chao of Luang Prabang apparently had heard what Anuwong was about to do, since he stayed in Bangkok and came out of the war as the only monarch left in Laos. The French made him the king of Laos under their rule. That lasted until the communists seized power in 1975. They took the king, queen and crown prince to a remote area, where they reportedly lived in a cave. All 3 eventually died of exposure and starvation and were buried in unmarked graves in the jungle.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anouvong

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Thank feck this is finally over, coz if I’d had any idea how much time and effort I was going to have to put into these posts then I’d never have started!

Day 10 (10 December 2012)

This is going to be really brief!

Late afternoon I wandered around to Khop Chai Deu and had a couple of LBL, which I assumed would be my last there, but fortunately not.

Some more KCD Christmas decorations.

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Coss then picked me up about 6.30pm as we were going out for dinner with MLG and MLGBF.

The dinner venue turned out to be a Japanese style eat and drink all you want cook your own food type place called Shabu. Not really my cup of tea (I much prefer someone who knows what they are doing to cook my food for me!) but nice enough.

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After dinner Coss dropped me off back at Khop Chai Deu and then drove the girls home. Half an hour later he was back and quite a few LBL’s later (10?) we decided to call it a night, well either that or we were kicked out!

So, apart from flying out the next day, that was the end of my 10 days in the Kingdom of Laos and very enjoyable it was to. Of course part of that enjoyment was down to Khun Coss who was a wonderful host when I was in Vientiane, so thanks mate, much appreciated.

THE END

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Actually not quite the end as there are a few pics I still want to post plus a few updates based on my current visit to Laos, which ends tomorrow.

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Hi,

 

Thank feck this is finally over, coz if I’d had any idea how much time and effort I was going to have to put into these posts then I’d never have started!

 

I'm happy you did. Enjoyed reading the posts.

 

Sanuk!

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