Early breakfast at Naked Vang Vieng Cafe – run/owned by an Australian woman, the scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado and tomatoe is beautiful. Oh, and the iced coffee I ordered actually comes as iced coffee and tastes sensational. A victory I say.
8.30 sharp we leave the hotel in two mini buses, TMM (remember him? ) and me have strategy to make sure we are not on the same bus as the person who put us at a bit of risk two days ago, the strategy involves getting in and taking the middle seats so he can’t sit there because apparently he will only sit in those seats. Its not an issue and he’s not on our bus, we have a nice calm group.
The road is wonderful heading south the Vientiane is multi lane, smooth, and wide. its a dream compared to the road from Luang Prabang. The discussion on the bus is politics in the USA and Europe, boring and interesting at the same time, but interesting that we have a US citizen involved
In no time we are Vientiane at the hotel, about 11am I think. We take the bags to reception, leave them and head to walk to the museum and the Vientiane version of the Arc de Triomphe. A
A visit to the COPE Centre is very sobering and 2 T Shirts and other things are donated by our group for them to sell to raise money. This place is very sobering, the damage from unexploded bombs and landmines kills and injures lots of people every year and their speciality is prosthetic limbs.
Back at the hotel, The Sabaidee@Lao Hotel, which is very nice and the rooms very nice, we find our room hasnt been made up so we end up being moved to another room which is made up.
Lunch for TMM and I is a Joma, the same french bakery chain that’s in Luang Prabang, a Mango Crumble, a coconut cake and an iced coffee (tick number 2 for the day) arrive and all is delicious. Tonights final dinner venue, KhopChaiDeu Vientiane is just over the street.
The day is hot and humid, not unusual, but it seems maybe a little bit more so than I’ve felt so I stay in and have a rest while Dale goes walking.
Tonights dinner is everyone except one person, a lovely night and very entertaining. We’ve been blessed to travel with a group that has people from all over the world, an age range of about 50 years, but the common bond of travel and adventure binds us together as a team – for whatever reason this group works and gets on together so well that it will be hard to leave them tomorrow.
A poem for the night seemed to go ok, at least nobody wanted to punch my head in because I’de insulted them. I also read The Copper Haired Girl to them as an opener and the new poem I called ” The Intrepid Trip” and it goes like this;
The Intrepid Trip Paul Reid 31st July 2022
I was thinking and a bit worried a long time before,
Who was I travelling with on the long awaited Intrepid Tour,
Who was our leader, who had to keep us in line,
And who were our fellow travellers, well we’d find out in time.
Its a long way across Thailand and down through Laos,
So it really concerned me as I packed a bag in my house,
That I’m so shy, so quiet, a real introvert it might be said,
How will I handle any pains in the bum, the people I dread.
There’s my travelling mate Dale aka The Maintenance Man,
He’s quiet until he’s not when people don’t stick to the plan,
He spends most of his time shopping for his daughter,
He calls me forgetful, and fixes Pak Beng’s running water.
Georgia is quiet, an independent a strong young woman,
She loves cats and bought one, not sure if that was the plan,
Hot spicy food she devours until her face turns bright red,
So hot it makes her nose run until she showers and goes to bed.
Aussie Dave, sixty five kilos, hollow legs not an ounce of fat,
Has travelled everywhere, knows music, mind like a steel trap,
He wears no underpants, he says he likes the airflow,
If he walks a bit funny, its because he’s gone full commando.
Robyn I met when she walked over at the hotel in Bangkok,
She wouldn’t give her age, but experience, she has a lot,
Every day as we journey Thailand, Laos and around,
She loses a phone or something else that has to be found.
Pink fan, disarming smile, Jesus don’t let her analyse me,
She wed Valentin not long ago after he asked “marry me”,
She disarmed him, poor fellow didn’t see it when she hit,
She’s good fun, would you let her in your head to sort out your shit?
Valentin, full of knowledge, has a German political view,
Of the world and where things sit and who’s who in the zoo,
He found her on the internet and they’re on the honeymoon,
Mate, listen I’ve been married 44 years its not all gloom.
She’s tall and artistic, a mother a copper and she looks fit,
If I was in trouble I’d call Ange cause I know one look and they’d quit,
She likes bubbles and ducks out for the occassional smoke,
I don’t like either really but I’m not sayin a thing, no joke.
A maths teacher once but now not one no more,
He’s good at euchre, knows his trumps and how to score,
The chilli king can handle the heat and eats spicy food
American David mixes with everyone and is never rude.
Shepparton is his home town, Melbourne where he lives,
We’re all better off for all the advice that Matt gives,
He throws down beer like he knows what he likes
Especially in Chiang Mai after 30k on old push bikes.
This Canadian gal lived in Malaysia it was her home,
She’s Asia savvy travelling with friends and alone,
The school mam watches over us like a mother hen
Keeps us on track when we wander off now and then.
Bruce, Bruce, is that your name, I didn’t hear, say it again,
I don’t understand, I can’t do it, is the constant refrain
You disappear at night and sometimes during the day
Silence is golden so say nothing when there’s nothing to say.
And two Irish lads, Ben the the elder Mark so young
Fit in with us middling and old farts and join in the fun
We’re so glad you came along on your adventure with us,
Because you dropped our average 10 years without any fuss.
Sak joins us at the border he guides us through Lao,
The history, the war and where US landmines hit farmers ploughs
Him and Naa in the land of elephants, jungle and waterfall,
Answer our questions, guide us and make sure we don’t fall.
Our leader she watches where we are, she really cares,
Don’t go near the edge, don’t climb in with the bears,
Here is a plan but do what you want, don’t go too far,
If you get lost this my number, remember my name is Naa.
Some go home and some continue the SE Asian loop
It’s been good fun and I think areally great group
Sayonara, Ciao, Kap Kum Kah, Sabaidee, Khop Jai Li Li
Thanks for your company, tomorrow it’s bye bye..
Paul Reid 31st July 2022
The food and the bar at the restaurant in Vientiane are great and the last of us leave the bar at about 11.30pm, walking back tot he hotel in the drizzling rain. ts been great, we’ll see the group at breakfast before we all head in our different directions. Tomorrow we fly to Phuket for a relaxing break.
Ciao from Vientiane – Pauolo