So to Laos I must go, on a 3 day visa run. I went with an agency called Thai Visa Service. It costs a little bit more than doing the run on your own, but its much easier and less stressful going with an agency. They provide all transportation in an air conditioned van, accommodation at a decent hotel with a pool, and most meals. They also handle all of of the Visa services for Laos and Thailand. No waiting in long lines for hours at the embassy and boarders is pretty priceless if you ask me. We didn't even need to go to the Embassy to pick up of stamped passports on the 2nd day, the company did that for us and met us at the boarder with our passports which not only had our Thai visa stamp, but was already stamped by the Laos boarder as well.
Truth be told, there was still a lot of waiting around. Aside from the 9 hour bus rides from and back to Bangkok, there was waiting around at both the embassy and the boarder while our reps did all of the running around. I'm not complaining because waiting around while someone else does all the work is better than waiting in long lines and stressing out because you never really know what is going on in these Asian countries, but I couldn't help but think despite everything I could have gotten through quicker as just a solo runner.
Vientiene, which is the capital city of Laos was not all that exciting either. Not that I did a whole lot of exploring on my one day there, but it just seemed like a small, bland city. The best thing about it was the Mekong waterfront. I guess the best part was that I met some pretty cool people along the way from the US, South Africa, UK, Israel, Columbia and Spain. On our one night in Laos we went out to a roof top bar, where we met a local pool shark (there were 3 chicks who were killing it at pool. There was a rule where you could play them and if you won you didn't have to pay. I don't think I saw anyone win.) who took our entire crew to a after hours night club, where we danced to loud trans-y, bumpin music until the wee hours of the morning. Not usually my scene, but it all depends on who you are with and the group was really fun. Many of our crew were just destroyed the next morning, so the night must have been good. The best story of the night was from a guy from our group who ended up taking the pool shark chick back to the hotel. The only problem is that he found himself unprepared for the nights activities. So at probably around 5AM he runs down the halls of the hotel in only his boxers to the front desk. He asks a girl who is at the desk and on her cell phone if he can buy the condoms in the locked case, but she refuses to help him and tells him to ask the 2 guys sleeping on cots besides the counter. In his own words, having gone beyond the point of return, he wakes both guys who groggily and amused allow him to purchase 3 condoms from the case. He then dashes down the hall and "represents his country." HAHAHA! I love stories like this. The ride home was a lot more fun sincewe all knew each other a little better. We talked about the most inappropriate things, and each person took a turn at playing my ukulele (they were all better than I was which tells you a little bit about how my self-teaching is going).
Anyways, with all of that behind me, I am excited to be back in Thailand and on my way to Koh Tao to begin my dive master training. More exciting things to come!