Christmas Eve, and our plan was to travel down to Sayaboury to the Elephant Conservation Centre. Ebi-kun had other plans for us… the hospital! He was ill all night with a high temperature, I was hoping it would break in the night but sadly not, we had some meds with us but they didn't seem to be helping much.
I got up early as planned and asked the staff at the hotel if they had a room for a couple more nights and explained why. They were absolutely lovely, sorted us out with a room, we couldn't stay in the one we were in but that was OK. Then they organized for the hotel tuktuk to take us first to the pharmacy, which was close by to see if the English speaking doctor was there, and if not he was to take us to the hospital.
So, yes it was off on an adventure to visit a Laos hospital, it was in a poor end of town but the place was clean and the staff friendly. The equipment wouldn't have looked out of place in a would war II movie but it appeared to work. The doctor spoke English and gave him a full cheek over and concluded it was some kind of infection. So we came away with 5 lots of medicine including antibiotics which seemed to do the trick. After visiting various hospitals abroad (only once for myself) I was expecting to have to fork out a lot of $$$ for the trip but it was only about $12 (¥1200), I was amazed and the hotel didn't charge us for the tuktuk trip either.
I also got in touch with the elephant sanctuary and explained the situation, The sanctuary really is in the middle of nowhere and if things turn bad medically in Laos you have to fly to Thailand so I was reluctant to take him out of the town, just in case. Anyway, they we great and emailed back asking how long we were going to be in the country, I sent the dates back and they managed to squeeze us in.
On the downside, we ended up losing a day tour that we already paid for with Green Discovery, quite frankly they were totally unhelpful, we asked if it was possible to swap the date of the tour or maybe do something else, we were happy to do something of less value but the guy in the office was about as useful as a chocolate teapot. They are not on my recommendations list for Laos! We also lost 2 nights at the hotel that we had booked into, so is life!
So…after the hospital and a rest and attempting to sort out the schedule we wandered back up the main street to find something for lunch, we liked the look of this little road and had a wander, at the end was a Wat and just on the other side a small restaurant, turned out it was Japanese owned!
The owner is one of the 6 resident Japanese in the town and was very friendly. The food and service, as expected was fabulous. Ebi-kun decided he wanted MEAT and ended up with a whooping piece of chicken, Yasutoki had some kind of hill tribe soup, sticky rice and local sausage. I couldn't decide and ended up with the lunch set, from the left...spring rolls and spicy sauce, egg and vegetables, chicken cooked in banana leaf, mince chicken & bean sprouts & salad. In the middle were fried green beans I also got Hmong hill tribe soup and sticky rice.
A meal for champions!
After Ebi-kun had had more medicine he said he was feeling a lot better and his fever had dropped so we had a wander up to the national museum and palace, which are in the same grounds. This was the wat in the ground, spectacular..
A lot of the mythology is similar to that at Angkor Wat, so lots of Naga snakes and Buddhas. They really go to town with the gold paint in Laos!
The decorations are so intricate, against the beautiful blue skies it really was stunning..
WE also went around the palace but you had to check in all your belongings, so I didn't even manage some sneaky photos, which was a shame because the reception hall was magnificent. The walls were decorated with glass mosaics depicting stories, big battles and celebrations, it really was amazing. Wouldn't fancy my own house done the same but there you go!
Ebi-kun wanted a break after the palace so we stopped at a cafe and got drinks, I think by the end of the holiday he had tried every variation of fresh fruit juice and shake going! Before dinner we decided to take a look around the night market, it sets up along the street in front of the palace every night and has plenty of stall to choose from...
I loved all the vibrant colours, the silks and scarves and the lacquered plates..
This style of monk painting was very popular, we saw it all over the place...
We didn't really buy anything, just had a good mooch around and the stall owners weren't in your face aggressive like some places.
This is LaoLao or a variation of it, Lao whisky distilled with snakes inside the bottles, some had scorpions too! Although I was intrigued about what it taste like, we didn't buy any after reading that the local animal population is suffering because of the tourist trade buying this stuff. Incidentally, there is a sake in Japan that has haba snake inside, the snake is put in alive, urgh. I have tried that, it is foul.
Ebi-kun was shattered so we decided to just pick up a sandwich and take it back to the hotel with us, because Laos was occupied by the French at one time, there is a great French influence, which means great baguettes! Nom, Nom...