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Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam

Day 115: Country #14

I debated making a third attempt to visit Kaysone Museum, but instead got detoured by some fruit vendors from the Morning Market outside Talat Sao Mall, a pretty standard mall. I also stopped by the visitor center next door to mention my frustration with the Kaysone Museum (based on my interactions with locals, I sensed that the tourism arm of the government was powerful), then decided to wander down Khoun Boulom Blvd, a busy commercial street featuring Vientiane Center and a World Trade Center.

I took the bus back toward the tourist street and asked around to see if there were any airport bus shares, but there were none, so I rushed to see a few remaining sites, the temples near the city center.

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Ancient Buddha pairs in Vat Sisaket, Vientiane, Laos.

At Wat Sisaket, I ran into a Japanese solo traveler taking lots of photos of all the Buddhas lining the walls and buildings. We saw someone demonstrating to a group of tourists how to play a large gong by rubbing his hands over it’s center. After they left, we both tried. It took many tries, but I finally figured it out and was able to make a loud resonating hum.

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Buddhas at Wat Sisaket listening to my gong playing, Vientiane, Laos.

Satisfied at learning another instrument, I left and somehow entered a small temple across the street, but after paying the small entry fee, I realized I was not at Wat Ho Phra Keo, which ended up being a problem because I had planned to spend the last of my money on Wat Ho Phra Keo. Luckily the Japanese guy showed up and covered the difference. We chatted a little more, but the site was much smaller and I needed to get to the airport.

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Wat Phra Kaew (with chair for scale), Vientiane, Laos.

I grabbed my bag from the hotel, drank a bunch of tea to lighten my load and walked 3 miles (5 km) straight westward all the way down Souphanouvong Ave until I reached the airport. I liked that the airport was so close to the city center and the map indicated potential interesting sites along the way as well as views of everyday life. In retrospect, given the heat, it was a bad idea, but I felt the distance was achievable and luckily I had an umbrella.

The best place to store water is in your body, especially before strenuous activity like a long distance walk with your pack. Water in bottles are important to stay or re-hydrate, but they slosh around and feel a lot heavier than when it’s stored in your body.

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