Getting a taxi was easy at the airport. You pay the man at the well-marked stand about $7 and he gives your destination to the driver. Much easier than my nighttime arrival in KL where the taxi driver hadn't a clue where my hotel was and almost sideswiped a couple of cars on the freeway while trying to find it on his GPS.
I stayed at the Ibis hotel and was quite pleased with my new-looking, clean and comfortable room. It was a bonus that it was on the main street and only a few steps from a number of restaurants and shops.
My first stop was to find an adapter for the computer I bought in Malaysia. I hopped into a tuk tuk and the helpful driver joined in the hunt for someplace that sold computers and electrical supplies. I was successful in finding a $3 adapter. I was less excited about the $10 tuk tuk ride, which only lasted about 15 minutes.
Next stop - lunch! After a relaxing and delicious lunch I of course went spa hunting. That was pretty easy since there were about 6 in one block. I chose one at random and thoroughly enjoyed a 1 1/2 hour massage for $14. It was a blend of massaging (with Tiger Balm oil) and stretching.
On to shopping and sightseeing. I'd read that there was a small grocery store tucked behind a bakery on the main street. What a treat it was! One of the things I've had trouble finding (even in Bangkok) is herb tea. I like to drink tea in the evening but don't like the caffeine. I was very excited to find some great selections. They also had homemade fruit yogurt and a variety of other treats. My enthusiasm waned a bit when I walked out with one bag of groceries for $24. Mandalay prices have spoiled me forever. It will be worth it, though, when I'm home, sipping tea.
The rest of my time was just spent meandering, dining and snoozing. Vientiane was a nice place for a couple of night's stopover.
|Hard to believe this is a main street in the country's capitol.|
|Oh, thank goodness - a pagoda (or wat or stupa, depending on which country you're in).|
|55,000 kip might seem steep for a lunch special until you realize that it's about $6.|
|Some day I'm going to be the first tuk tuk driver in Mandalay!|
|First Lao meal - laap, which is ground chicken with chiles, lemongrass, fresh basil and coriander and delicious. Served with sticky rice (more common than steamed rice in Laos) in the cool, tightly woven container you see here, to keep it warm.|
|The main drag in Vientiane.|