We set off early from Vientiene, in the tuk tuk Rich realised that he had left his camera in the bike basket from the previous day - we went back and luckily it was still in the basket! We caught a very dusty old rust bucket of a bus to Savannakhet which is about 9 hours south of the capital. The drive was quite slow and the driver had some disgusting looking fish dish on the dashboard, as the journey went on the fat congealed on top of it - it was making us feel rather sick. We had a few loo stops which was just a field to squat in, and we stopped several times at little towns where food sellers got on. They were waving round bbq meat on sticks - after closer inpection we realised that the meat was actually bats! There didn't look like there was much meat on there but they did smell quite good. It was quite sad seeing how desperate some of the people were to sell something.
We pulled up to Savannakhet bus terminal in the early evening - it was really overcast and thundering. Lonely Planet described this little town as being charming and having lovely honeycombe villas - it sounded like it needed visiting. We found a room in a very quiet road. We were all hungry so we set out to find somewhere to eat. It was only about 7:30pm and it was a weekday but already everything was shut or closing - it felt like it was midnight. We found a little cafe run by a japanese man and had a nice rice dinner.
The following day Kam had a bit of an argument with the owner of the guesthouse about our room, we had air con but it didn't work at all, the owner was really rude and told kam that all foreigners are the same and just want to rip off the locals! Anyway we then went out for a baguette breakfast and decided to hire some bikes, we got them from the tourist information office. As we set off, Rich found his bike didn't work at all and as no other bikes were available decided to just walk around. Me, Kam and Eleanor and Carolyn went on a little ride - the town was very small, it did have a very nice church and a few temples. There was a small square in the town centre - it was just such a quiet place, it felt like everyone must be half asleep most of the time! We stopped off for a drink overlooking the river and could see Thailand on the other side which looked very much alive! We then cycled further up the river and stopped for an ice cream, a very lovely lady came out and gave us all some cold water which was very sweet. We returned the bikes and the manager of the tourist info office asked us to fill in a survey - he was so nice and asked us to look at an essay he had written in English as he was studying part time. Rich was also in the office helping an older man with some english studies, we were quite amused to find out that this man used to be an english teacher!! We found out there was so much more to see in the area than we had time for, it's a shame we rely on our lonely planets so much as you sort of just think that all there is to see is in there. In the evening we went out to a local restaurant and had some more Laap - it was really, really spicy though and made the eyes water!
Savannakhet was nice but I'm not sure we would visit again ...........