I take it all back- Craig has done a fantastic, far more detailed job than I. So for the record, I have eaten my words!
The last you heard we were catching a bus from Vang Vieng, well it was a 7 o'clock local bus so being the keen travellers we were we got up at 6 and met Sarah and Josh by half past to make sure we got a seat. The local bus is not like one we had encountered before- mostly grey (with dirt, not by colour choice) rusty seats with the remnants of what used to be leather upholstry and a set of wiondows of which 90% were stuck open- which made for a breezy ride! After a bum numbing 4 hours and a LOT of honking of his horn (mainly at chickens, cows and small children who happened to be wandering in the road), the bus driver arrived at Vientianes local bus station. We jumped off and were quickly bombarded by tuk tuk drivers wanting to take us to hostels. We searched a few and found that most were expensive but settled on a moderately priced one, located relatively close to the main attractions. Little did we know that at night, this road was not so desirable!
We settled into our rooms and took a walk to familiarise ourselves with the surroundings, other than that we rested and caught up on some much needed sleep. We met up again with Sarah and Josh and went for a lovely meal and a few drinks, after which we found a pub near to our hostel. We all shared a few Lao Beers and swapped stories of our travels, before noticing that the bar had filled with scantily clad, ahem "ladies" and drunken, mostly old men. While Josh and Craig were horrified, Sarah and I found it highly amusing, especially as we made our way home and made a point of walking on ahead and leaving the now drunk and wobbly boys to defend themselves against the swarms of lady boys that had gathered around them like moths to a flame!
The day that followed was mostly uneventful, we visited the Lao History Museum which comprised of hand drawn maps and paper mache sculptures of dinosaurs and wandered the local shops to see what was on offer. We met up for one final lunch with Sarah and Josh and went our separate ways as of 6.30pm that evening (it should have been 5, but Lao timekeeping is very different to the British version!) and headed back towards Friendship Bridge and the Thai border for a night journey to Bangkok. The bus was the best we had seen so far and aside from the swarms of mosquitos (I had 17 bites on my arms and feet alone!) we had good, reclining seats and a free dinner stop on the way.
Our original plan was to head south to Cambodia and Angkor Wat but after careful consideration we decided that our time was best spend going further south to the Thai Islands. We simply dont have enough time to acomplish all we hoped and want to make sure we dont rush anything and compramise the quality of the trip. So we headed back to Bangkok to have another stab at exploring the daunting manic and busy streets!