Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Visa Run Day 5. Vientiene, Laos (applying for the visa)

At 8.00 am I line up outside the Thai Consulate entrance with fellow visa applicants. The gates rattle open shortly after 8.30 am and we walk quickly to collect our number ticket. I’m 18th. Many of us haven’t completed the actual visa application and sit down to do so. The first 20 or so numbers are called so quickly, we don’t hear them...because we’re all busy, writing and gluing on photos.

No problem, I stand in line and those around me numbered higher happily let me jump ahead. By the time I head over to the payment building, the ticket machine is dispensing number 160. I exit the consulate at 9.35 am. All very straight forward and painless.

Stray meets me outside and takes me to a cafe he discovered a little earlier, just around the corner. Brugel’s Bakery is new, modern and owned/run by a young, half Thai, Laotian man. He has a good head for business, offering free computer use and WiFi, and complementary visa applications that the unscrupulous try to flog for 20 Baht outside of the consulate. In a month or so he’ll have a 400 Baht room to rent and if the standard of the cafe is any indication, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there. thebrugelbakery@gmail.com

Looking out to the street from the alfresco area
Before arriving in Laos we’d been told by some friends and travellers that it’s more expensive and much cheaper than Thailand, by others. He confirmed it was the latter and joked that he didn’t like paying Laos prices after returning from holidaying in Thailand. Personally I was surprised that Vientiane wasn’t cashing in on the visa run crowd, in the way of more cafes, bars, arts and crafts, souvenirs...touristy things. Perhaps they just choose not to?

There does however seem to be a fair bit of construction going on, and the pictures below are for a certain person who I know appreciates the art form of scaffolding.
I thought I’d seen it all in Vietnam and China, at least there they use bamboo. This looks more like driftwood, except Laos is a land locked country. Of course it’s not all like this. This impressive, but incomplete, building utilises both industrial grade and not!
I'm guessing our hotel is planning to extend...some time in the future.
Balcony watch – I was up early for a change and was lucky enough to watch the monks collecting alms.

A car hits a dog and it yelps as a distressed school girl yells even louder. It’s OK...it runs into a nearby shop to its owners.

Not far from the hotel, some guy is ranting and raving at the top of his lungs, at a woman and another man. It goes on for fifteen minutes or so, before they can convince him to back inside.

A man pushes a large set of scales on wheels up the road for anyone wanting to weigh themselves, for a small fee.

A middle aged farang women loads her scooter basket with groceries, followed closely by a small Asian girl in pyjamas, not much bigger than a toddler. The woman mounts the bike as the girl yells ‘maae, maae’ (Mum, Mum). Without even a glance she reaches down and scoops the child up onto the seat behind her. They ride off, the little girl’s arms latched, but barely reaching, around her.

Everything is covered in dust, it’s hot and dry...I don’t think it’s rained here for quite some time.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Lani said... Best Blogger Tips

don't you just love watching people?

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes...yes I do :)

Jade said... Best Blogger Tips

I found your blog while looking for some information on making a visa run to Vientiane, and then I happened to read about your experience at the Brugel Bakery. We live in Udon and know the owner - in fact, he came to our house just a couple of weeks ago. He is a really nice guy and I've been wanting to check out his new bakery. Glad to here it was a good experience for you! By the way, our blog is iseethemoon.blogspot.com if you are interested. Another aside - our sons were born 2 years apart on the same day as well!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Jade, this planet of ours is turning out to be a freakishly small world! Amazing who knows who and from where. The Brugel Bakery its owner were a very pleasant experience. Thanks for your blog address, I'm going off for a read now.

Thanks for dropping by and do come back again :)