Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

In Vientiane, Laos...

After the frenetic energy on the streets of Hanoi, Vientiane is quite laid back. Yes, there are the usual omni-present motorbikes, of course, but not nearly as many as are zipping through the streets of Hanoi and HCM City. Also, there's a noticeable lack of horn-honking. More and more westerners have found out about this little haven in Laos as evidenced by the many hotels that cater to travelers. Vientiane lies on the banks of the Mekong and is the capitol of the country. It has enough wats (Buddhist temples) to sastisfy anybody's taste for the exotic. A number of Buddhist monks pass down the river-front street by my hotel every morning around 6 A.M., and you have an opportunity at that time to offer them alms. The currency in Laos is the Kip, and it takes 10,000 of them to equal one US dollar. As it was in Vietnam, you can eat three good meals a day for US$10-12. Actually, I've been told, Vientiane is a little more expensive than the other places that I'll be visiting in the country. Part of the excitement of traveling is the joy of having spontaneous conversations with other folks who are also out on the road. Last night was no exception. In the same restaurant/bar last night, I connected first with a very interesting fellow from Canada named Jillian (who looked a lot like Saddam). After he left, a young woman named Fiona (who works as a mechanical engineer in Ireland) enjoyed another full hour of delightful sharing about life, trips and philosophy. This afternoon, as I was visiting about six of the wats, I hooked up with a married couple from Melbourne. As much as I enjoy traveling to see new places, a major draw for me really lies in these fascinating conversations that I get to have with people from all over the world. Very cool, indeed. Well, it's off to dinner now. More later as it unfolds...

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