We were dropped by the river and after a quick look in the Lonely P to see where the main congruence of hotels were we put on our rucksacks and went for a wander. A couple of nice-looking places had FULL signs. The first place we went into had one double room left (result as we often get stuck with twins) and on inspection was fab! and 22 USD. More than Vang Vieng but Vientiane has a lot of expats and more upmarket tourists than backpackers.
We dumped our bags and went out to find lunch. Outside a Swiss couple who had been on our minivan were huffing and puffing that we got the last room and virtually implied it was unfair as they had tried to run there but gone down the wrong street. The girl was clutching the Laos LonelyP. I realised there was a room-finding etiquette with regards to the LP in that most guesthouses have maybe 10 to 20 rooms so when several bus loads of backpackers hit the town within an hour, without reservations, there is a mad dash to find a room. We'd been too slow in Vang Vieng and had taken nearly an hour to find a vacancy but that day we'd been lucky as we hadn't even been looking for a particular guesthouse :-)
That reminds me... I have a rant about backpackers and minivans. Anyone with a remote business brain knows that to make money you need to fill all your seats in the van. So why is it when we're the last two people to be picked up and have to squeeze in with the other 7 to 9 people we get dirty looks and people sigh! Especially in Asia the van is not going anywhere until the bus is full. The swiss couple I just mentionned had commandeered the first row (which seats 3) and were trying to make me sit in the front between the driver and another strange man. Like I want to be squished between 2 big blokes on a non-seat without a seatbelt so I can be the first to headplant through the window if the driver brakes too hard. No thanks!
Back to lunch... we went in search of JoMa, a western style bakery as we were craving a bread fix. Actually we had quiche and salad but the point was it wasn't rice. Deeelicious!!
Sightseeing wise, we headed on foot to Patuxai. As per LP, "Vientiane's haughty Arc de Triomphe replica..." was built in 1969 (so not exactly old). The best bit is they built it using cement donated by the USA which was intended for a new airport.
On the way there we stopped to check out Wat Si Saket.
Ben trying streeteats - dried fish on a stick - whilst we watched the sunset over the Mekong
Wat Si Saket...
Sunset Drinks & Stickys...