Friday, December 12, 2008
Vientiane - the capital of Laos
After eleven days in Luang Prabang, we took a forty minute plane ride to Vientiane for a two day stay. Vientiane is the capital of Laos but for us it's like a small town!! It's true - Vientiane is a pretty tiny capital.
For us, three days is really, really, short. We're used to three, two, one, etc. week stays but there's not much to do in Vientiane so Mommy and Daddy said it was enough.
On the day we arrived we didn't do anything except go to our hotel, settle in, and have dinner. Vientiane has much more French influence then Luang Prabang. There are French restaurants all over the place, French writing on signs and menus, and that doesn't even include all of the French tourists!!! Anyway, for dinner we did go to a French restaurant. THE FOOD WAS GREAT!!!!!!! I had smoked salmon ravioli which was very delicious (especially since I love smoked salmon!!) and for dessert I had caramelized apple pie (not so good)!! If we had stayed here longer we would've eaten our way through Vientiane.
The next day we went sight seeing. Vientiane is home to the famous Pha That Luang (a monument to a Buddha), a huge arch called Patuxai, and a couple of famous Wats. Pha That Luang is a big pyramid shaped Stupa that is painted gold and has a gate around it. There are multiple small shrines with Buddha statues and burning incense. There's not much to it but it's a national monument.
The Patuxai arch has a strange history. It started when the U.S. Government gave cement to the government of Laos to make an air strip for planes to land. Instead, the government of Laos took the cement and built this huge concrete arch!! It's very pretty with carved designs and a great lookout at the top. However, on the sign board inside the arch of the arch (ha ha!!) it said, “it looks pretty from a distance but up close it looks like a big concrete monster.” Saying that is kind of like wearing a t-shirt that says, “I'm ugly!”!!! After you get out of the arch there are two fountains and gardens. The lookout at the top of the arch was also nice. A very good view and very good souvenir shopping!!
That's mostly all the stuff to do in Vientiane so we've spent today either walking around, or going to the bus station getting info on how much it costs to get to Nong Khai by bus. Oh well. I got to finish my book anyway!!!