After we check into our hotel and got the girls changed and ready for the day, we set off to find a place to eat. In the province we live in, there are no Indian restaurants. This is a problem because we happen to love Indian food. So every time we have the opportunity we find an Indian restaurant to eat at. As you have read in part 1, we ate Indian food in Bangkok as well. So of course, we went looking for Indian food.
Nathan had told us about an Indian place they like to eat at when they come. We negotiated a price with the Tuk Tuk driver BEFORE we got in and off we went. Problem was that he didn’t take us to the place we wanted to go. He just took us to an Indian restaurant that he knew of. We were too tired and hungry to fight with him so we just decided to eat there. Cultural note: Thais like Lao people are very proud people. They are very much into “saving face”. So often times if they don’t know something they will tell you an answer anyway, even if it is the wrong answer. Case in point, instead of telling us he didn’t know where to take us when we showed him the business card and specifically asked him if he knew where it was, instead of saying no, he took us to an Indian restaurant that he knew.
The funny thing is that while we were having lunch, a guy from Nigeria saw us and decided to eat at the restaurant just to talk to us. There aren’t very many blacks or Africans around Laos so I guess he felt we needed to stick together. 🙂 Very nice guy. He actually lives in Laos with his Australian wife and absolutely loves it. He had a lot of funny things to say. I won’t repeat them all here because it was one of those you had to be there conversations, but one of the funny things he told us is that the restaurant we were looking for was about 50 yards from where we were sitting! lol It was really cool to see that he had found a niche in Laos as a personal trainer to foreigners and was doing well for himself.
After lunch we went back to the hotel and got some sleep. We were all pretty tired from all the traveling. For dinner we decided to go to the restaurant we were trying to get to before and wouldn’t you know it, they took us right back to the other restaurant we ate at earlier! Too funny. We just got out and walked the short distance to the other place. While we were waiting for our food, my wife went out took take some pictures and ran into our new friends from the border! I really shouldn’t be surprised. The capital of Laos, Vientiane, is not a very large place at all. If I had to compare it to a place in Texas I would say it reminds of the downtown area of Grand Prairie. Sorry to those of you that don’t know what that looks like, but trust me when I tell you that if you haven’t been there, you aren’t missing anything.
We had a chance to have dinner with them and had a great time. They are actually here in Thailand living and working on starting a business. He actually was here at first training to be a Muay Thai fighter. (I immediately thought of you Phil J) I won’t rehash the whole conversation but I thought this would be a good time to bring up the Kip.
The Kip is the Laos money. It isn’t worth very much. You can see the exchange rates below.
1 US dollar equals 8006 kip. 1 thai baht is worth 250 something. I exchanged 1600 Thai Baht, which is about $48 US dollars, and I got back 407,000 kip! I know right. This creates major problems when you are trying to figure out if you want to buy something because you can’t help but feel that you are getting ripped off when they tell you that something cost 12,000 Kip. In the states, I’m just not use to dealing with such large numbers. My bank account usually reads in the single digits. Lol
So when we got our bill we had a good laugh over the price. I’ll let you practice your conversion skills on this one.
The next day, we took a Tuk Tuk tour around Laos and took a few pics. (We also had lunch at the Indian restaurant again J, I told you we like Indian food.)
Then it was time to get packed up and start the process of heading back home. We left the hotel at around 4pm and didn’t get back home until about 2 pm the next day. Long trip.
Bus lag is definitely real.