After a restful night of BiaLao induced sleep, we both awoke, refreshed. Walking out to the small balcony, we viewed the serene, early morning Mekong, rolling along.
The view was tranquil, but the air was acrid.....
We were soon to find out why:
The infrastructure in Vientiane is not quite up to Western standards, and though I saw what could very loosely called "garbage collection" we also witnessed a lot of trash being burned. Not so bad if it were only leaves, but plastics, and other items were being torched as well. Much of it happens early in the morning, creating a distinctive stench.
The streets of Vientiane seemed still at this early hour. To say that Vientiane is sleepy is an understatement.
Even the very busy Setthathirath Road is quiet at 630am.
We walked to the very highly recommended JoMa Bakery and Cafe.
Very popular with European tourists and Ex-pats. JoMa is clean and bright, and though the various offerings did not look particularly inspiring to us, I had my Coke Light, and the Missus a Latte, while we sat and contemplated the day.
It was a nice quiet place at this time of the morning.
We strolled back slowly to our hotel......we were now operating at "Vientiane speed". A wonderfully laid-back pace.....
Just like Nong Khai, we had a Wat next door; in this case right across the street. Walking through the Wat on the way back, the Missus ran into an inquisitive Monk..... which resulted in a nice diversion. Well, maybe not for the Monk, who was suddenly subjected to a number of questions.
Arriving back at the hotel, we noticed Ai was working yet again. Among the subjects we chatted about was how was the lack of fresh fruits and such at Talat Sao. Ai laughed, and told us that the "Fresh Market" was on the block in back of Talat Sao, next to the bus station. So after a quick shower, guess where we were headed?
We decided to take the route up Chou Anou, than down some side streets and Samsenthai. This area is Vientiane's unofficial Chinatown.
We passed this Peking Duck Restaurant, and the Missus slipped in to check it out. Complete 3 course Peking Duck Dinner just 100,000 Kip (about $12/US)!
Kind of made us wish there were more people with us.
We saw these young men making Mantou.
And walked pass the huge Lao National Culture Hall.
Right across from the Lao National Museum. I wish we had a bit more time, but never had a chance to visit. Next time perhaps.
Further down the avenue, the Vietnamese shops appeared, including a few Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich) shops.
Crossing still not so busy Lane Xang, we soon found ourselves in the back of Talat Sao.
Past the bus station, and the line-up of tuk-tuks.
And into Khou Din Market. Just photos.....
After the Missus picked up some Dragonfruit, we headed back the way we came. Back on Chou Anou, we noticed what looked to be a former movie theatre.
Was now a busy and packed noodle stand.
The street was starting to come to life, and we noticed that this young man had a special passenger!
Cracked us up.....but where's the pooch's helmet?
As we approached the hotel, and the always busy "ping" (grill) stall.
We noticed the bike riding pooch in the fenced off empty lot next door!
And realized we had seen the same dog the day before! I guess this is Vientiane's version of doggy daycare?
About this time, the drum at Inpeng Temple around the corner was going off.
It was lunch time!
To be continued......