Actually second Friday and Saturday, but who’s counting. After our first full week in Vientiane, we get the weekend to do a bit of exploring around Xaysettha District (where we live), neighboring Sisattanak (the Diplomatic district), and Chanthabouly (downtown).
“KEEP CALM and CHICKEN BEER.”
I left the Mister for about 30 seconds and came back to this!
Friday night out at the Pizza Company. And yes, that is cheesy-hotdog-stuffed crust. One long circular cheese-infused hotdog lovingly enveloping all the pizza goodness. Holy mother of pizza, that is so wrong…and yet so, so right.
And, if an infinity-ring of cheesy, hotdog amazingness doesn’t quite strike your fancy, maybe “Extra Cheesy Sausage Bites” crust is a little more your style?
The next morning (Saturday), after sleeping off a pizza coma (FYI, as much as my heart was set on it, we did not order any of the hotdog-stuffed-crust options…I’m a father now and would like to live past next weekend, after all) we stopped in at our new favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Once Upon A Time. I like this place, not only because it is a darn good coffee shop in its own right (and has such a cute name!), but because it tends to have a pretty local crowd as well. And Noe likes all the funky lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.
A few blocks down the road (but a world away) we come across one of the most amazing neighborhood markets ever. They have just about every fruit and vegetable imaginable — we were in heaven walking through this place.
This stuff looked particularly appetizing.
And pink eggs! I’d like to know the story behind these. Natural, or dyed. I can’t imagine those are Mother Nature’s doing, but I also can’t imagine someone taking the time to dye them pink. Well…actually, I can.
Yep, those are frogs. Take a few home and stew em up. Sure to be a family favorite!
You can tell Noe was enjoying the trip through the market just as much as we were.
Electric feather fans to keep away the flies. In all our travels, we’ve never seen this method employed. Ingenious.
Lots of these herbal medicine shops around town.
House for Rent. We are in the market, but a bit small for our tastes. Where’s the fountain, Olympic-size swimming pool and helicopter pad!?
A little closer to our budget:
While perusing through a minimart, I came upon this. A gilded Laos wine opener (about $10). This would go great in my Laotian villa.
So, you may remember that I spent my birthday this year at 41,000 feet skirting every war zone from here to Belgium. Lori promised that we’d get a chance to celebrate when we were settled, which meant today! She schedules a Lao Full Body Massage at Manee Spa and dinner at Amphone (where we ate four years ago). Judging by the parking lot and the clientele, I can safely say that not a single other person reporting for a massage that day also trekked three miles in the blazing heat.
The massage was most excellent (thanks, honey!) and we were pretty impressed with the property, as well.
Our day didn’t end there, of course. Oh, no. Given that our house search is ramping up, we wanted to explore a bit more of Sisattanak District, which is often referred to as the Diplomatic District. It’s a very nice part of town, but not really our style — not to mention a pretty bad commute for Lori. Nonetheless, it was good to explore another section of the city.
We cut over to the Australian embassy and continued our way towards downtown. We thought it might be fun to see the new developments on the waterfront so we opted for the newly constructed flood berm road. It was hot, very hot, and mid-afternoon. No shade, and no services for a very long mile (was it really only a mile?). We were getting so hot, I even took a page from the Chinese we’ve seen and popped open our umbrella. Yep, we were pretty desperate.
Don Chan Palace is about the only thing along this exposed stretch. A decent looking beer garden, but no shade and across the street (we would have had to straddle two sets of railings to get there. We continued on).
Meanwhile, the view across the street:
After a long slog along the Mekong, we finally made it to beer. Not just any beer, Belgian beer, and a great seat overlooking the street. It’s my birthday, after all.
Finally, after many hours of walking, drinking, and more walking (not to mention, a half dozen trips around the block to please the Mister), we made it to Amphone. Lao sausage, Laab and sticky rice. And it was just as delicious as we remember.