March 9, 2013
Distance: 25.2 miles
We were completely unmotivated to leave Vientiane early. It might have had something to do with staying up very later or having a few beers, but maybe not. We didn’t end up leaving Ian’s house until 1030am. We then had to stop by Three Sisters for one last noodle dish, finishing lunch around 1130am. On the way out of town, we stopped by the Patuxai Arch and the That Luang Stupa for a few photos. We finally made it out of town a little after noon.
The ride out was not really interesting, because we were just cycling through industrial suburbs of the city. After a while we ended up on Highway 10 which was a more quiet meandering road than Highway 13, which is the main route north.
We started looking for a guesthouse after about 20 miles. We followed a sign on the main road and after a kilometer or so, found a brand new looking building with nobody around and the gate locked. We kind of stared at each other and the gate for a minute, thinking about what to do when a girl on a motorbike drove up and let us in.
Another man drove up a short time later and told us the price was 30,000 kip, but raised it to 50,000 kip when he found out we wanted to sleep there all night long. Then he raised it to 80,000 kip. What should have been a pretty simple transaction took well over five minutes with the man and the girl chattering back and forth (flashbacks to Vietnam), and for some reason seemed to be very confusing for them. Clearly, we were getting ripped off, but we were not in the mood to find another place to stay, we agreed to the price. Now the man wanted us to eat chicken at his house. We said no, and he said yes chicken, and we said no and went inside.
Sometimes we joke, but with some seriousness, that we like to stay at crappier places just because it gives us some extra motivation to get up and get going early the next day. This was a “motivating motel”.
We spent the remainder of the evening doing some much needed laundry in the sink and reading. I had a bit of an encounter with a couple local kids and their kitten. Animal cruelty seems to be everywhere in Asia, and these children were no exception when they picked up the kitten by it’s hind leg to swing it around. I really didn’t know how to react to the situation. The kids and I don’t speak the same language and I couldn’t take the kitten away for very long before they had to leave, so I just tried to set an example of being nice. I couldn’t handle watching the poor kitten get harassed, so we left to find dinner in the market.