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More stuff to look at from Laos….

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Vieng Xai

Getting from Muang Ngoi to Vieng Xai, near the Vietnamese border, was a battle. We got on the bus in the middle of the night clambering over sleeping bodies in the aisle, it broke down for four hours (check out the engine parts laying in front of the bus), and asking for a seat was sometimes fraught with danger….
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Eventually we made it to Sam Neu (almost to Vieng Xai), where I took this photo in the local market. Something about the look on the guy’s face sort of creeps me out.

And then finally, we got to Vieng Xai, home of the Pathet Laos’ secret caves, complete with a statue celebrating the victory over the United States. And let’s face it, if another country bombed the crap out of me for nine years without a breather, and then finally fucked off, I’d probably erect a statue in honour of the occasion as well. We were also pretty shocked by the fact that the locals are still sweeping areas to check for unexploded bombs (the UXO on the sign stands for Unexploded Ordinance). On our second day in town, the most exciting thing that happened was Bec giving me a haircut…
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Remeber the story about getting into the over-crowded truck with crazy Swiss guy. Check this out…. and remember, in that first photo, I’m still to get in after Bec…
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Nameo: One of those days…

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

It was August 14th when we left Vieng Xai. We had planned to leave the day before to head across the border into Vietnam, but were told that buses only leave the border three times a week. So a lazy day was spent in Vieng Xai doing not much at all; Bec giving me a haircut was just about the highlight. Oh, that and buying a shirt at the local market, where I drew a nice crowd of curious women who all left their market stalls to come and watch whilst I tried the shirt on. A bit of gentle bargaining and the shirt was mine for just a few dollars. Three days later I threw it out.

We were disappointed to have spent the extra day there. Normally, we don’t have much of a timetable when we travel; shit happens when it wants to happen, and there’s not much you can do about it. But about a week earlier, we’d heard word that a couple of friends of ours were arriving in Hanoi on the 13th of August, so we made sure we would get to the Vietnamese border on the 13th. From there, Hanoi was little more than 200km away. A short bus ride, yes? That’s what you’d expect, right? Well, those expectations were way off, my friends, way off. I’m talking ‘expecting Iraq to resolve itself’ way off.

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Vieng Xai: Hidden Disco

Thursday, August 30th, 2007
After a quiet night in Sam Neua, where we relished having a proper toilet, a proper shower, with hot water, and a proper bed that didn't have leeches in it, we caught an early morning tuk-tuk an hour further towards ... [Continue reading this entry]