A key part in man flu is to always casual moan or drop in that you are not fighting fit, however, the man flu contract clearly states that one must not openly admit or say he has the flu. He must only demonstrate with visual clues, hints and sounds that he is knocking on deaths door. So with up holding the contract, I followed suit and woke up and let out an almighty “ahhhhh, ohhhhhh” in line with a exhalation of air and grasp of the head. All three text book man flu techniques clearly demonstrating to the other party their man is still under the weather.
Today had a simple agenda: visit the Buddha Park with talk of swimming in the late afternoon, before catching the sunset over the Mekong river. So again, like a wounded solider (although feeling slightly better than yesterday) I pulled myself up and out, into the midday sun to visit the park.
Being quoted vast amounts of money by Tuk Tuk’s to visit and after some research from Abi, we took the cheap local bus. Relatively easy journey. You get on at the start of the bus in the bus station and get off at the last stop outside the Buddha park. To make it easier, majority of people depart the bus at the friendship bridge to Thailand and before, therefore anyone left, especially white tourists, the driver assumes you’re going to the park and hollers you when you arrive. Piece of cake. So happily we glided across the road towards our destination, enjoying the view of the Mekong before suddenly the bus hit vibrate. It shook, bounced, skipped and rattled as we were reminded of the infamous Laos roads. Seems the workmen tarmaced in and around the city but only up to a certain point. They must have not enjoyed the new, ever lengthening drive to work each day as they tarmaced out and thought better of it to continue. The road had stopped and what lay there was rocks, holes and dust, turning our refreshing AC into a dust blast as the cabin filled with particles. Luckily we arrived pretty promptly after that so our spines only endured the rattle for 15 minutes.
The Buddha garden was surprisingly cool. The statues, built by a rogue monk, are an attempt to create a mash up religion of Buddhism and Hinduism, which has produced some interesting results. Many statues having more than one set of arms like the Hindu gods but still posesing the Figures and heads of Buddha. What was missing and is something missing at most tourist Asian tourist sites is information. No plaques or boards giving an insite into what gods it may represent or why he may have chosen these particular ones. But like I said, this is common across Asia so was expected. On the positive, the man flu is beginning to subside.
After the park, one of us had struck a plan of action that they wished to follow through on. To go swimming. Now if you have been reading the blog or know us then it’s self explanatory who initiated the plan. If not then I suggest you read There’s a storm brewing for some background information (it was Abi). Before swimming, there was a change of hostel as ours could not extend our stay. A short 1km walk so no real issues, just a shame as the current hostel was a good one. After walking in the heat (30+ degrees), this only strengthened the swimming desire. So as our bags hit the bedroom floor I was met with, “Well I’m ready!” The girl wears a bikini everyday so of course she was! None the less I took the subtle hint and grabbed the swimmers and began the march to the pool. In all honestly it was good to get in a pool to cool off and to crack out a few lengths to get some sort of exercise fix. So I’ll let her have this one. Good idea Abi.
As the sun began to set, we had to wrap things up and head back to the river front to try catch the sunset. It was our first clear night in Vientiane and seeing the sunset over the Mekong was on the list of things to do. So storming towards the river, only stopping for a few snacks on the way, we managed to catch the sun just as it’s reflection was lengthening across the river before it disappeared behind the curtain of haze. A relaxing end to the day. So we thought. Just as dusk fell, over our shoulder local people gathered. Seaing them wearing their active wear and carrying water we remembered. It’s public aerobics and after our snacks I had no hesitation in joining the exercise class, all be it in chino shorts, vest and flip flops to bust a rhyme with some local talent. No better way to drive your appetite than getting a sweat on with the locals as the sun finally dips behind the horizon – feeding time!