Vientiane isn’t like most capitals of a country. First off, only 250,000 people live here and it feels more like a town than a capital. No high-rise buildings, very little traffic and I only remember one stop light. Normally, it’s not too exciting to write about food, but the one thing this cozy little city does have is good, cheap restaurants and we found the mother load our first night. We hooked up with Mark and Jerre, our new travel buds from Connecticut for a glass of wine before going to an Italian/French restaurant (French being the most popular tourist food because Laos used to be a French colony). The food was some of the best we have eaten since leaving on our trip, probably some of the best food I have ever eaten, period. We had steaks with fancy French sauces and fresh vegetables and homemade chocolate cake. I would go back to Vientiane just to eat at this restaurant! And the kicker was that for the four of us to eat, including wine and appetizers, the bill was around 30 dollars- for 4 people!!! The next night we were all trying to decide where to eat and we figured, why mess with perfection, let’s go back to the same place. It’s a little embarrassing since there are so many restaurants in the city, but once again we had another great meal. This time of lasagna and spaghetti. We finished the night off at a bar that was full of local Laos and a local band that were singing their hearts out to American cover songs. Who knew “Zombie” by the Cranberries was so popular half way around the world?
Laos is a communist country but you would hardly ever know it. One of the few times that you do realize it, is when you take a look at your watch and realize you’re going to be locked out of your hotel room because you’re out after curfew! In Vientiane we had to be back at our hotel before 11:30 pm or else they lock the front doors and close up the gates and we would be out on the street. Some hotels are not so strict on this rule but our place was, so on our last night, we had to run home to make our curfew. We made it with about three minutes to spare, pretty funny stuff.