Well, it didn’t take long for the Laotian feel-good vibes to fade. Actually, that had already started in Luang Prabang.
You see, what I only slightly touched on in my last post was that while we loved the festival and the people we met, Luang Prabang was damn expensive. Like, not slightly more costly, colossally more.
The room at our guesthouse was barely lit, we shared a bathroom with seven others, the walls were paper thin, and it was still one of the most expensive places we’ve stayed during this trip. The owners were quite lovely though, so we didn’t feel too grieved about all that.
Let’s move on to the food. Nowhere is as cheap as Bangkok, we learned that the hard way, the day we left, but food had steadily been costing more, the less developed the areas we went to. The all-you-could-fit-on-your-plate in Luang Prabang was a good deal, if you prefer your food cold, but restaurants were pricier than we were used to.
And then the souvenirs/knick-knacks…you don’t even want me to get started on those. The Handicraft Night Market had good prices, but the shops themselves were atrocious! We watched a woman pay $130 for two small figurines (and that was after bargaining!). We’ve long since learned that if we’re being quoted in dollars, they’re trying to rip us off.
Anyway, we’d heard Luang Prabang might be a little more upscale, so we were looking forward to chilling in Vang Vieng for a few days before moving on to the capital. Only, I woke up around 3 am on the morning our bus was to leave with pain in my eye that felt like a rock was in it. And not a little pebble either – I almost shouted at Chandler (after I had woken him up – I know, I’m a terrible girlfriend), when he couldn’t find anything in my eye.
About an hour later I fell into a fitful sleep. When our alarm went off a short while later, I awoke to the same pain. After Chandler did some more digging around in my eye (stupid on our part, in retrospect), he voiced his fears: pink eye. I immediately thought of the snot-nosed kid downstairs and started cursing.