We only stayed one night in Vientiane, got the bus there and it was pretty straight forward then checked into our accommodation that needs a special mention, it was actually a cell. I’ve heard some rough things about the prisons out here but they sound tempting to be honest after a night in this place no wonder it was cheaper than everywhere else! Think we paid about £7 for that night which is good between two of us. But it did leave me wanting for our little jungle hut in Pai which felt like a steal at a healthy £3 a night. Anyway we didn’t let this dishearten us and headed of for some food, Vientiane is known for good food so we splashed out and I have to say it was nice, and by splashed out we paid £19 for starters, mains and at least 2 beers each! So it still is a steal really. The first night that was all we did really, we found a little bar afterwards with cocktails so thought we’d share a large one before heading back to sleep. It took ages to try and explain what we wanted and I think what we ended up with was non alcoholic, well whatever it was it wasn’t very pleasant so we ditched that and headed back to the room (sorry I mean cell). I had the worst nights sleep of my life and spent all night watching Holby City and Casualty, 6 episodes in total. In the end at half 5 Joe let me share the bottom bunk with him and I got a few hours sleep.
We had to check out at 11 and headed out into town it was hot, so hot you could hardly move. I would go as far as to say i’ve never been so hot!! We aimed for the COPE visitor centre and off we went. On the way we went past loads of pet shops and I just had to have a look, they seem to have puppies galore stacked up in cages and it is quite sad they all look so hot and none of them had water :(. They didn’t seem to skinny though i’d say they’re pretty well fed just hot and bothered, but the puppies are by far not the most shocking thing they had small tubs filled with baby turtles in hardly any water. What the aim is i’m not quite sure do local people buy these as pets? or are they some kind of dinner? Tropical fish also seemed to be popular! Fish in a milk bottle but shelves and shelves of them… how they got them in their I am not even sure, all in all a bit bizarre.
And yes next to the baby turtles that is a hedgehog they too seem very popular??
We kept walking after a brief episode of thinking we were lost and ended up where we were aiming for. For anybody who doesn’t know COPE is a charity that sets to help people out with disability especially by helping to provide surgery and prosthetics. The museum takes you through the reasons this is such a big problem in Laos and explains that there are a lot of unexploded land mines that the young children in small villages play with. They also have a massive value for scrap metal so locals often tamper with them or attempt to sell them and this can result it death or loosing limbs. In was insightful and I was definitely we took the time to learn about this charity and the brave people of Laos. They had a small theatre and a list of documentaries you could choose to watch so we chose one and spent an hour watching that before the long walk back to the hostel.
We arrived back just in time to have some lunch/dinner before being collected for our 26 hour bus journey! And that is most definitely another story.