8 weeks is long enough to be away from home so it is time to scuttle back to Australia and get reacquainted with my family.
I decided to try some of that Thailand dental tourism I'd heard so much about so I booked an appointment in Bangkok and planned to spend a day there on the return trip. I wound down my first stint in Laos with a great dinner with my little expat family. Jenny cooked a fabulous dinner and we drank some Koonunga Hill wine I found in a bottle shop. There is plenty of wine available but it is mostly French and so I have no idea of what is quality/value. A good reliable Penfolds was therefore a welcome find.
Hit the golf course on Saturday while my washing dried and then met up with a new local for dinner before spending the evening packing. KongKhao for a leisurely breakfast and Bloody Mary on Sunday morning then off to the airport for the BKK flight. I was very surprised to see 2 guys from work there on their way south for some MS Exchange training. TC and Mong are both great guys and have been really hospitable to be, especially out on site, so I thought I would make it up to them by taking them to dinner. We ended up getting separated going through immigration as the line at BKK was at least 1km long. It was mental. They had a hotel booked right near mine so it was easy to converge our dinner plans. Of course, they chose Shabu Shabu. Lao people can't seem to get enough of that. We found a nice enough place and gorged ourselves stupid. I baulked at the pork heart though but happily munched down on some scary looking fungi. A few beers, a flirty waitress and full bellies makes for an excellent night.
The dentist experience was a bit of a bust. Despite extensive emails about what I wanted done on the day I got nothing but a 1 hour basic consult and clean as they only do an 'initial consultation for first appointments'. FFS - why didn't you tell me that in the first place.
Oh well, it meant for some more time for shopping and stuff so I headed to Thaniya Plaza for some new golf gear. I need some shoes to take to Laos so that was the priority. The skytrain is an excellent piece of public transport. Easy to work out what ticket to buy. Lots of announcements of what is going on and a service so often they don't bother with a timetable. What the hell is your excuse Metlink? A day of buzzing around a city I had never been to before made me hate my home town's options all the more. Thaniya is 5 levels of golf stuff so it took a lot of looking around. I ended up buy some shoes from the Nike store which is right near the door on the ground level, but I had to spin a lap of the entire place first before making the purchase because it was entirely plausible I would find better elsewhere. But I didn't.
Found a tapas bar to eat lunch and relax for a bit then just bummed around town until I grabbed a quick massage and a shower before heading to the airport. The masseur was pretty good, but the relentless up-sell to try and talk me into the 'special' massage pissed me off after a while and I ended up snapping at her. The happy ending to the day actually came when I check in and was given the front row of economy on the bulkhead and all the joys that extra leg room entails. Despite leaving at 00:15, they still felt the need to do a full dinner service and so the lights didn't go off until about 2:00AM. Combine that with the 3 hour time shift back and no wonder I got not much sleep.
A shower, a nap and a cheese and vegemite toasted sandwich and I was feeling better by the evening. I am feeling the the cold badly. It was 23C when I left Vientiane. The coldest daytime temperature I had experience in my entire time in Laos. It has yet to get through that mark here in Melbourne.
Now if you will excuse me, I have some relaxing with my family to do.