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[personal profile] lolamatopoeia
We finally moved on from Luang Prabang and are now in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Luang Prabang was much easier to get stuck in than we expected and I had to force myself to leave. We had been getting too spoiled there. We took an 8-10 hour bus ride through the mountains yesterday to get here. It was pretty spectular and I'm growing quite fond of long bus rides. It's nearly impossible for me to sleep or read for more than a few minute spurts at a time, so I tend to just gaze out the window at the scenery and listen to music. It's fantastic down time and alright for meeting new people as well. Yesterday I talked with a young Brit who told me stories about his slow boat journey from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang and bed bugs and mayonaisse in tea in between reading his Agatha Christie mystery. I think an Ode to Bus Rides in South East Asia is in order soon.

Vientiane is alright so far. We stayed in a ridiculously overpriced hotel last night (200,000 kip for the two of us) because all of the guesthouses within a walkable perimeter to our drop off point from the tuk tuk were either full or putrid. We switched to a much cheaper room across the street this morning and are just crossing our fingers now that our bags are still there and intact. We're finding this city quite a bit pricier than others we've visited, but I suppose that should be expected from the Capital.

We have been impressed so far with the amount of fellow travellers we've been able to reconnect with along the way; we just keep bumping into eachother. Last night we had burgers with Lucas, the German student fluent in Indonesian and fetish films, after meeting with him again on a street near our hotel. This morning we also bumped into Gavin, one of the Australians in the tour group I rode an elephant with at the Elephant Village. It's a small world after all.

We went to the National Museum today and it was fascinating and extremely painful for me. I've worked in so many museums for many years and walking around rooms that are not temperature controlled, and seeing precious artifacts not enclosed in any way (just signs that beg 'Don't Touch' nearby), and gazing at photographs with undated and out of order labels stuck directly onto the print just made me cringe. It makes me want to get some official training in Museum Studies and Historic Preservation of Artifacts and just come back here and help them to know how to take care of this delicate history.

We plan to leave here tomorrow. We'll be heading South, to Paxse and the 4000 Islands for a while to do some exploring. We've decided to cut out the Malaysia and Indonesia portion from this trip since it would just be too rushed otherwise. We love Laos and we want to be able to spend more time here, and we'd also like to have more time in Vietnam and Cambodia. Trying to squeeze in two more countries there would have just been too much. This will also just give me further incentive to go there on my own next year. I must learn to dive! Alright, off to see about a bus ticket and to take some more Imodium.

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