Day 294 – The Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane

After little sleep the night before due to the bed bugs we headed over to a nicer hotel at 6:30 in the morning. It was nearer to the river, a little more expensive but it included breakfast and most importantly, had no bed bugs! We were able to check in straight away, after which we nipped out for some breakfast and then went right to bed sleeping till midday.

After catching a few hours of sleep, we were in a better mood, so we headed out in the glorious sunshine to the Patuxai Arc, a war memorial statue located in the city also nicknamed the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.

Built in the 1950-60s the arch is a memorial to those lost during the battle for independence from the French.

The patuxai arch

The patuxai arch

For just a small fee you are able to climb up the stairs and head to the viewing platforms at the top.

Before heading up there, underneath the arch, there is a painted ceiling which was pretty amazing.

The ceiling of the arch

The ceiling of the arch

Within the arch, there was a sign explaining the history of the arch which included a rather amusing line:

“from a closer distance, it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete”

A little history

A little history

We headed up for a great view of the city and soaked up the sun again.

A pretty good view of Vientiane

A pretty good view of Vientiane

It was our last night in Laos. The next day we would be heading to Vietnam. We knew the food in vietnam would be great, so we picked a western favourite, pizza, for our evening meal. We weren’t disappointed! We had a pizza each from a posh restaurant. Amazing!

Amazing pizza

Amazing pizza

 

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Day 293 – COPE centre in Vientiane

In the morning, we booked into a nicer hostel, well what we thought would be a nicer hostel, but more about that later.

For breakfast, we headed over to the Joma Bakery Cafe. We had been to the posh western cafe in Luang Prabang, and ordered the same flapjack/porridge block thing which has had to pour milk over. It was delicious and you can’t help but feel slightly guilty for really enjoying the western food in a SE Asian country.

The breakfast at the Joma Bakery Cafe

The breakfast at the Joma Bakery Cafe

After breakfast, we headed over to COPE, Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise. The centre is for people who have lost limbs resulting from unexploded bombs left over from the war in Vietnam.

The centre has a small museum which explains the situation and how Laos beared the brunt of the American bombing with many devices landing in Laos which have remained unexploded since.

Locals have since been looking for the devices so they can sell on the metal for scrap.

Parts of bombs at COPE

Parts of bombs at COPE

As well as being a visitor centre, people from all around the county come for prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation.

The statue at COPE

The statue at COPE

Sign at COPE made from old prosthetic legs and arms

Sign at COPE made from old prosthetic legs and arms

It was a really interesting place to visit and provided some insight into one of the many problems in Laos.

We headed back to the hostel and then onto the night market which pops up alongside the river on most nights.

Tuk Tuk anyone?

Tuk Tuk anyone?

We headed over to a restaurant which had some really good fresh spring rolls and a big bowl of noodles.

Fresh spring rolls

Fresh spring rolls

Big bowl of noodles

Big bowl of noodles

Back at the hostel, we were looking forward to a good night’s sleep but soon after being in bed, I felt a scratch, checking I had been bitten. A couple of minutes later another one, BED BUGS!!!! erghhh. Worst of all John was ok, no bites, nothing. We tried to find the owner to try and move rooms but couldn’t see anyone. It was around 1 in the morning so we wouldn’t have been able to move hostel.

It was a long night and at the crack of dawn, we packed up our stuff and left.

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Day 292 – Vang Vieng to Vientiane

After a boring stay in Vang Vieng due to John being ill, we moved onto the capital of Laos Vientiane – the last leg of our trip in Laos. It took 4 hours to get there and there wasn’t too many option for places to stay. We picked one which was a bit crappy but didn’t really have the energy to continue looking for somewhere better with our backpacks on.

We headed out to get a really nice fruitshake and sandwich.

Super fruitskake

Super fruitshake

A rather nice and huge sandwich

A rather nice and huge sandwich

We walked around the city and tried to look for a new place to stay the next night. We grabbed a really nice meal at night on the street – rice and chicken!

mmmm rice and chicken with some chillies

mmmm rice and chicken with some chillies

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Day 291 – Watching US sitcoms in Vang Vieng

After two days in bed, John was finally okay to get up and have a walk around. Drinking wasn’t really on the cards as his stomach was still sensitive so it was unlikely that we would be going tubing.

He was out and about but having not eaten for two days he became tired easily. We ate some congee to start the day which was easy on his stomach. Then headed out for a walk.

There are nice views

There are nice views

A little snack

A little snack

View by the river

View by the river

Hot air ballooning

Hot air ballooning

If you’re not going tubing, there is little else to do in Vang Vieng, apart from chilling out in the numerous bars with countless TVs to watch either Friends, How I Met Your Mother or the Big Bang Theory. So this is how we spent our afternoon. We sat back, ate and drank coke.

One of the many TV bars

One of the many TV bars

 

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Day 290 – Recovery day in Vang Vieng

John is still suffering from the overhang of the nauseating minivan trip yesterday. He’s stopped vomiting at least but the stomach troubles are still there.

I headed out to eat and walked around the town but mostly made sure that John was okay.

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