Back on the road in Laos

With my nose pressed against the airplane window, I watched the sun drop down below grey candy floss clouds earlier this evening. As the turbulence pitched us up and down for a few brief moments, my toes twitched in their socks and the imposed face mask scratched at my cheek.

The fading golden disc of fiery heat closed inwards to a final, gasping dot of colour. I wanted it to come with me, to touch down on the tarmac two miles ahead, walk with me off the sky deck and onto the fusty, carpeted walkway into Vientiane’s arrivals terminal.

I could have pocketed that bright, baby orb of light, as it dwelt for five more seconds over the horizon skirting. But, instead, I blinked and it was gone.

Later, I was stood by the baggage carousel, checking the notes I needed to change at the counter nearby. There was a comforting familiarity in the metallic surfaces around me, the garish advertising and the random assortment of backpackers and silver haired tourists shuffling past.

Who was watching my sun now? I wondered.

It was Christmas Day, almost 3 months ago now, that Issy and I were last in Laos. Our pre-wedding honeymoon, in Luang Prabang – a week of chilly morning hillside treks, and afternoon card games by the Mekong River.

Between then and now I’ve enough memories and stories to fill a dozen blog posts. Our wedding celebrations in Galle provided the perfect, sustained segueing celebrations between 2019 and 2020. A daily barrage of unique sensations and delights, as we were surrounded by special people and blessed by all that Sri Lanka has to offer.

For another time, with photos and reflections, I will try and paint in more detail how those fabulous days unfolded…

For now, for tonight, I am satiated by the privilege of travel, and the upcoming delivery of a week’s work ahead.

Interlaced between these weeks and months of crashing daily media about Covid-19, the girls have been off school since they closed at Tet, I’ve been setting up my new venture (www.coracleconsulting.net) and excitedly started agreeing work contracts, only to then disappointingly lose them to the virus. And alongside this we’ve been firming plans for a future move to Australia. The year, as most will concur, has not been without its “interesting” moments already.

But for now, for tonight (and until otherwise instructed!) I am here in Vientiane.

A city somewhat left behind from the accelerated growth that other Asian countries have enjoyed. A city of charm and hospitality. A city, it turns out, with seemingly very few face mask wearers and, as I remember it from my last visit, a city where things take their time. Laos PDR, we were informed over our Christmas “pre-moon”, stands for Laos ‘Please Don’t Rush.’

I don’t think I will. For now.

 

 

 

 

It was Christmas Day almost 3 months ago now that Issy and I were last in Laos. Our pre-wedding honeymoon, a week of chilly morning hillside treks,

 

A Quick Coffee Stop in Laos

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The Mekong River at sunrise. Thailand to the left, Laos to the right.

I’m sat with a delicious Saturday morning coffee, in Naked Espresso, a funky cafe in the thick of the Vientiane backpacker area, having completed my daily ritual here of a brisk walk down the Mekong River nearby, which has presented me with picture perfect views this week of Thailand, just metres away over the water.

Since my last post about holidaying in Australia with Issy, I’ve traveled for work to Colombo, Bangkok, Singapore, and Seoul. Squeezing in a weekend of football in Manila along the way. I’m trying my best to be a good citizen of the world, but for sure I am going to carbon hell.

Vientiane represents my penultimate trip of 2015 and, fittingly, last night I kicked off the evening with some Kiwi friends, in a German owned bar, managed by a kind man called Kami from Tokyo, where we tucked into some Laotian pork rolls, washed down with a few drams of glorious Japanese whisky.      Continue reading