A drink from paradise…available on Earth

This is it. I am saying goodbye to Vietnam. Got to say, I’ve loved the activities here, but it’s not as awesome as Cambodia was!I have been a little disappointed by Hanoi, I feel like it is more real, and genuine Vietnam, but it has just been a bit crazy. Laos is meant to be so laid back, it will be a big change! We scheduled a little bit of a lie-in today, which was nice. I don’t think we will have many (any) before we get back to Bangkok. Not that I mind, I don’t want to miss anything while I am sleeping.After waking up, we knew we had to do a mega pack to fit everything in, under-weight, for the flight from Hanoi to Vientiane, and that we had to get to the post office to send some postcards. Doesn’t sound like too much, right? I’m worried, it’s a tight schedule, but then again, we were pretty sure that it was only a 5/10 minute walk to the post office. While at breakfast, we feasted to make the most of it and stocked up for lunch. Seriously, we’re getting really good at it. IF we could only steal the juice and water, we’d be set!

After breakfast, we strolled towards the lake, and the post office, all postcards written and in hand. Once we reached the lake, we started walking round it, in the right direction. It was not *quite* as close as we realised. 15 minutes later, we could see it, and once in there, spent a stupid amount of dong on stamps. (I still can’t believe it costs less to post a postcard from Vietnam to Liverpool than it would from London to Liverpool!!!) With some of our leftover dong, Jade purchased a figurine, to go with the lanterns we had both purchased the day before. Mairead had the brilliant, and thoughtful, idea that she could take stuff home in her bag, and then post them from Ireland to save money, so that we have room to buy the stuff we want while we travel. What a legend! My plan to bring something back from everywhere I go no longer seems so space-consuming, just money draining!

Once back at the hotel, we both only had 20 minutes to check out, so the race was on. Luckily Lara had some space and weight in her bag, so that meant Jade could off-load her sleeping bag to save weight. I think we are both going to be pretty close. Everything just about sort of fit in. Jade carried my laptop bag full to the brim full of devices so we could have them as hand luggage. I’m still not sure how we got it all to fit in now!

We chilled around for  while in the hotel, and ate our acquired lunch in the bus, whilst counting our millions. Well, thousands now, getting poorer by the second, it happens quickly in Vietnam.Considering that it is the capital city, the airport was tiny at Hanoi. I haven’t even heard of Laos airlines, so the flight could be fun. Our bags weighed 19.9Kg and 19.2Kg. Considering the weight limit was 20Kg each, I think we hit perfection. Luckily, and thanks to Katja, we scraped enough for an ice mocha, and relaxed in the only proper airport café that they had.

Boarding was an experience, of the good variety. The seats were nice, there was ample legroom, leather covers. One of the best initial experiences on an airline ever.Before you think it, no, I’m not setting up a bad experience, it was great. The flight was only 50 minutes, but they still found time to serve us all with complimentary food and drink. Not at all bad me thinks. It was one of the smallest airports I have ever been to, and was one of the best immigration points I have been through.

And so we were in Laos, after a short drive, the capital Vientiane. It’s small, especially for a capital city. And all of a sudden, I stop feeling like we’re visiitng touristy places. Laos is much less commercial and tourism based than the other countries we have visited, and I love that. After reaching the hotel (the second one we went to) we wandered through the annual festival of lights, and witnessed some awesome, authentic, Laos traditions. It was very cool.

Jade and I decided we fancied proper food, rather than street cuisine, so followed Lek to a little restaurant called Black Canyon. It was cold, you have no idea how nice it is to feel cold! We sat down, and were spoilt for choice, eventually ordering the same meal. Once we had eaten, Lek said she needed help with chicken things she had also ordered that were on their way. They were delicious, with a chilli and salt coating. We were planning, on Lek’s advice, to get ice cream after dinner, as Vientiane is known to be good for it, but were surprised when Lek, who had already declared herself full, ordered 2 traditional Thai desserts. I still have no full idea what was in it, other than tarot and coconut milk. We added the sticky rice that she had also kindly bought for us to try from the market – they sell it in bamboo canes/covers – it was good. The blog post title today came from the napkins in the restaurant. The place sold spectacular looking coffees and shakes (Jade wanted to try the Mexican iced coffee which came in a glass wellie).

Afterwards, we decided to have a lazy night in, talking to people back home, and watching Harry Potter. Oh the life.

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