Vietnam: Finally . . . Laos!

We finally arrived at our hotel in Laos, the Apsara, at 9:30 last night. Judy had us pre-order our dinner so food and beds were waiting for us after the long day of travel. It is a charming lovely hotel. We love our room and dinner was perfect. This town is famous for its food and Judy told us not to wander into any old restaurant, but to check with her for recommendations first.

According to the Welcome Book in our room, Apsara is the Khmer word for a dancing girl or heavenly nymph employed to please the gods. These images are carved in most Khmer temples in Cambodia – we will be seeing lots of them in Ankgor Wat next week.

We’ll be going on a walking tour after breakfast with our Laotian guide, Tui (pronounced Two-eee), to change money (we are now using the kip, not the dong anymore), and to get a lay of the land. All I can report on so far is on the fantastic dinner we had (I had pumpkin soup and tapioca with mango – both perfect) and some of the very endearing descriptions in the Welcome Book:

Bicycles

We have a collection of quality bikes to rent for 2 USD per day. Please ask at reception. Do remember in Lao terms you are the lowest form of life on the road other than pedestrians so please have a care.

Getting things mended

The great thing about living in a non-throw away society is that it’s possible to get things mended. If you have clothing or leather goods that you need repairing then ask reception to arrange it for you.

Kip management

Kip come in various denominations mainly 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and the highest is 50,000. The Lao deal with kip by counting them into units of either 50,000 or 100,000 and folding the last note over to keep them in place. These are then held in bundles using a rubber band. The banks used to do this for you but now don’t seem to bother. If you wish to follow local practice rubber bands are available from reception.

Well . . . time to drag myself down for breakfast before our morning walking tour begins. I think I may try the traditional Laotian breakfast: chicken noodle soup (basically the Laotian version of Pho) or rice porridge.

bedroom

buddha-statues

flowers

A nice long bathtub, my idea of heaven.

bathtub

dinner

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