Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 10 Marketing in Vientiane

Still no internet access at Sala Inpeng .  Headed out after breakfast in search of some more markets.   Along the riverfront then ‘inside’ to the Three Elephants Statue – just didn’t see too many elephants – just a bloke dressed in sort of Siamese costume pointing at Thailand.  Then to the Talat Khua Luang – a local market complete with butcher shop, fruit & vegies and clothes.  Next stop was the Nongduang market – Tony got a pair of shorts and we grabbed a tuk tuk back to Talat Sao for another look. 

Coffee and cake then off on a fabric hunt.  Tony was after a watch and another padlock for the 2nd bag – Lauren’s one we brought with her was showing signs of wear and we decided it was a bit risky to continue using it.

Down on the ground floor, passed ‘retrovision’ and ‘harvey norman’ were the fabric stalls.  I’m in heaven!  So much to look at, so  much to choose from it’s really hard to decide what I’m after but I finally settled on some mut mee (Ikat) indigo dyed cotton – who knows how well the dye will hold once I get it home but I love it now.  I really wanted a hanging but it seems the Lao weavers want to put orange into every hanging that has purple and blue in it so I came away empty handed.  You know how I hate orange!  How easily 2 hours vanishes when I’m in a fabric store! 

Tony went off on  watch hunt as is his usual SE Asian venture.  Came back with a beauty – press a little button and the LED numbers light up with the time.  Fantastic in the market, even in the hotel room but he can’t see anything in daylight!  Oh well!

Off to Full Moon for a beer and the internet.  Last night in Laos tonight and if the rain stays away we’re going to have dinner at one of the street stalls that serves something that looks like a cross between steamboat and Korean BBQ.  We’ve booked a taxi for 4.30am in the morning to be at the airport for our 6.20am flight to Siem Reap.  With luck I’ll have better internet access there – not that it’s really hard having to go out and grab a coffee while I go online.

Out for dinner and some last minute shopping in the night stalls that pop up along the footpath late in the afternoon.  I hadn’t had any luck finding a purple hanging – and it wasn’t through lack of trying.  What should appear on the footpath at dusk but a neat little hanging which I snapped up for 40,000kip.  Probably not silk, probably not hand loomed but who cares it’s a wonderful colour and not an orange thread in sight.   

But then I spied a little gem.  The Hmong seem to be moving from their traditional colours (obtained from using natural dyes) to much brighter colours which they get from modern synthetic fabric – so much fluro polyester satin!  They then pull apart the traditional pieces which they sell as bits.  I found a lovely collar attached to a bag.  Not the slightest bit interested in the bag, but the collar is lovely,  and I snapped it up for 80,oookip – happy happy happy!

We had our last meal in Laos at the street restaurants along the riverfront.  Lao soup with seafood – cook it yourself at the table – clay pot/bowl on top of a charcoal burner and you add noodles, all kinds of herbs (Vietnamese mint, Thai basil etc) and cabbage etc, then squid and prawns, cook it all up and away you go.  It is served with a yummy peanut sauce which we finished off by dunking lumps  of sticky rice in.  Drink the soup left in the cook pot at the end.  Fantastic!

A final iced coffee at the Sabaidee Café before heading back to pack & try and get an early night since we have to be up at 3.45am. 

And then Tony went to settle the bill!  $30 per night – worked out the exchange at about 8000kip to the dollar (the USD is currently about 8010 and the AUD 8340) - signs all over the town asking visitors to pay in Kip.  The hotel exchanges at 8500 which means we paid considerably more than we should have.  Funny but they don ’t exchange  at that rate if you had a handful of US notes!  Just left a bit of a sour taste and combined with the rock hard bed, the no wifi, we probably wouldn’t stay here again.

Will have to come back and add pictures - not had a chance to load them off the camera
cheers for now

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