Phogive me, Laos.
We have not made it to sunrise yoga, or sunset or midday or anytime for that matter, in 10 days...and that is perfectly okay.
Our last 5 or so days in Laos were a bust. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't entirely the worst. Vang Vieng was great -- fun company (Sean Kerr, stay safe out there), we found our favorite bar yet (Space), and spent two days camped out at the most beautiful pool (Silver Naga Hotel, google it). It wasn't until Vientiane that I've had my most frustrating travel day yet.
Vientiane wasn't even on our radar. We knew we had to go for our Vietnam visas, but NOBODY could've prepared us for 5 days in our least favorite place yet.
I'm making it sound horrible - which it sort of was, but that isn't the point. There were good things. The main good thing? Tysons Kitchen. We became regulars at this place. So much so that we tried everything we wanted on the extensive western menu AND got discounts. There was an interesting night market, beautiful sunsets over the Mekong, and a sick Buddha Park that's home to 200 Buddha statues. This all sounds lovely, right? And it all sounds like something that could be done in 1 day.
Happy Chinese New Year to us!!
Because of the holiday, the embassy was closed, delaying our Visa application process...leaving us stranded.
So what did we do? Got too tipsy over a midday meal to make it to yoga. Complained about diarrhea one day, constipation the next. Watched Planet Earth 2. Spent $9 on the worst - and funniest - manicure/pedicure of my life.
When the day came for us to pick up our visas, shit really hit the fan. Carly and I were mean't to purchase a sleeper bus to Hanoi, which is a 24 hour journey. It turns out it was booked in full 3 days out. Our response? Fuck it, let's bite the bullet and pay $120 for a plane ticket to Hanoi that night.
We sit down to purchase our flights and Carly doesn't know her passport number - our passports are locked up in the Vietnamese embassy 15 minutes via Tuk Tuk down the road. Easy fix, we head there now! Show up at 12:30...it's closed from 12-1:30 for lunch. Grand. What always makes us happy in times of gloom? Food! Off to Tysons Kitchen we go!!
By the time it's all said and done (around 4PM), the ticket for our 8PM flight has jumped to $150. We buy the ticket and learn the lesson.
So now we are here, in Hanoi, loving the pace of life and all of the options that Vientiane lacked in our last week. We've already eaten 5+ bowls of Pho (48 hours in), purchased $14 North Faces for the cold North (they might be fake, but they're made in Vietnam...), and met a rad Isreali girl starting her own trekking company in Nepal and Italian expats living in Hong Kong who invited us to visit. Successful visit :)
Tomorrow we head to Sapa and after that Halong Bay. We have a full 4 weeks planned here, leaving us 4/5 weeks in Cambodia, S. Thailand, and Indonesia. Stay tuned, team.