Beginning 2011 in style
The capital of Laos. A place that most people described to us as 'boring'. So we were eager to accumulate our own opinion on this matter. Me and Daniel had decided Vientiane was going to be our stop off for New Years. We had previously booked 5 nights accomodation with help from Andy & Libby. So for 5 nights in Vientiane in a 4 star HOTEL, this was our treat for Christmas. 'Luxury' is the main word associated with this chapter of our years travel, absolute luxury. When we arrived in our dodgy banger of a tuk tuk to 'Leuxay Hotel' we were greeted by two door men waiting to usher us in, while taking our bags. That felt amazing, we knew that if there was a man to open doors for us everywhere, then our stay was going to be extremely comfortable. Since being a backpacker you have to be immune from certain senses like; what a room smells like, what it looks like and of course what the bed feels like. The previous night to arriving to our luxury haven, we were staying in a dump in Vang Vieng. Obviously the cheapest we could find bought us; a wooden plank for a bed, a gigantic lizard on the wall (real life might I add), and a half roofless toilet. So you understand that when hunting for bargain rooms; smell, sight and touch just cannot enter the equation.
When we stepped into room 509 on the top floor of the hotel we were stunned...
- it smelt like cinammon and fruit
- the bed was so soft, your body got swallowed inside it
- it was so neat, clean and beautiful to look at.
For the first time travelling we had found a room we really didn't want to leave. There was even grass and a plant pot in our bathroom, we really notice the little things now! And yes, I can call it a bathroom now because also for the first time travelling we had a bath! That was the first thing we did, oh apart from jump on the bed like children, we had our first bath. One whole year of blood, sweat and tears came off into the tub, and lots of dirt of course. A well deserved treat, clean and ready for the new year to arrive.
I think I have probably gloated enough about how good our room was, but just to rub in the salt to a wound, here's some more pointers'
- Our mini bar was fully stocked and cheap!
- Our TV had movie channels
- Our balcony opened up to Vientiane and the pool
- We had a carpet, table and chairs
- We had white robes and slippers...
Okay, I'm done. I had to let that all out to give just a sprinkle of how amazing it felt. Oh and a built in air conditioner... seriously finished! Oh wait and free tea and coffee and room service for extra sugar... definately done now!!
We had found out that Vientiane was holding a street party for new year, which was free entry. We had driven past the cultural hall, which had tables and chairs all set up and wondered if that was the place. So on new years we trotted down to the gold cultural hall and sat ourselves on one of the plastic seats at a table facing the stage. The event was sponsored by, 'Beer Laos', which was confusing as all the posters around town were saying that it was sponsored by, 'Tiger Beer'. Never-the-less we were where we were, sitting waiting for the show to begin.
An array of acts performed, from cheesy boybands, to local Laos dances. Even the President got up and sang the Laos national anthem. Previously not realising that the president was even at this event, we had gone up to the front of the stage to dance and happened to be dancing next to the president! Having been on the TV the entire dance, we were shocked to see that two westerners sitting opposite our seats had taken a photo of us. Soon after this, the countdown had started, to our suprise, 10 minutes early!! We laughed and went with it, as we hugged and kissed each other "Happy New Year". The night was spent in celebration, for the achievement me and Daniel had made individually and as a team. We were so happy that we had experienced all that we had together. We both felt grateful for the life we had been given to live, and live it we would!
The night rounded down after we realised that all the westerners were at the, 'drum and bass gig', which was held behind the cultural hall and sponsored by Tiger beer. A merry drink and a dance and then a tuk tuk to our haven at 2 o'clock January 1st 2011.