I could not have wasted more time travelling last week if I'd tried. With a plane down due to maintenance everyone's site travel plans were in disarray and lots of negotiation was required to get anywhere. Then when I finally did get my second choice flight on Wednesday afternoon I was forced to wait in the departure lounge as our commercial leg was delayed 4.5 hours. they stopped lying to us about 5PM about how we would definitely be leaving in 30 minutes that they trotted out multiple times throughout the wait. With the help of a local fellow traveller I got the message across that a plane is needed to do that and with nothing on the tarmac there was zero chance of getting us turned around, boarded etc. in half an hour. Ended up so late we couldn't even get to the site that day so stayed the night at Savannakhet. Once again, I was the only falang in the group and reliant on locals to guide me around. Work for a day, come back, burn time that I would rather spend on other things.

On Friday night I had dinner with my friend Tien and after we walked down by the river where the boat racing / end of lent festival was firing up. I wish I had a go-pro camera on my head to try and explain it. It is a mix of the Melbourne Show and  a big market and was packed. It has completely closed down the road beside the river and spills up side streets almost to the Rue Souphanvoung. It was noisy and crowded and crazy fun.

There is a new form of entrepreneurial venture in Vientiane this week. All you need is some baling twine to mark off an area of footpath and set yourself up as a parking attendant, charging people to look after their bikes while they go to the festival. People have to walk on the street to get by these haphazardly arranged parking lots. They aren't shy about advertising with light wands and megaphones directing folks in.

Up early for golf and for some inexplicable reason Joma decided not to open until their advertised start time of 7AM. Actually it is quite explicable - just really inconvenient for golfers with a 7:30 tee time at KM17.

Having played Long Vien for a second time it has confirmed 3 points with me. The greens have too much slope in them for the length of the holes they play on. The 3rd is architectural egotism of the worst kind. The par 5 14th is the best hole I've seen in Vientiane. 14 has the classic dogleg over the water asking you to bite off as much as you can chew with a strong drive that finishes near the water giving a good chance to chase the green in 2.

All that activity, plus too much beer etc. after golf meant a quiet Saturday night and a designated rest day for Sunday. I had my washing done by 10AM and then just watched some TV and read some books. I can't all be adventure.

AuthorBruce Hardie