Grammy and Grandpa arrived on a Saturday evening, fresh off a flight from Tapei (via Hanoi). They had been traveling with a couple of close family friends who planned to join us all in another ten days. For now, it was just the 4.25 of us as I like to say.
It had only been just under four months since Noe and the Grammiparents parted ways, but in infant time, that’s got to be quite significant. For one, Noe’s got a lot more hair, is using his limbs in ways he could have only imagined when he left the U.S., and is eating big-people food…well, sort of.
He particularly seemed to enjoy his tongue wagging contests with grandpa.
On the first morning of their visit, we thought it fitting to take them to one of the highest brunch establishments in town, Ray’s Capitol Grille. We think it gives visitors an excellent opportunity to get their bearings before taking on this crazy town.
I’m not so sure we would have been so cruel to Lori’s parents as to start the day before noon if they had flown directly from the States (Oregon is 15 timezones behind us). Fortunately, they had spent the last several days in Tapei (a mere one hour ahead of Vientiane) so were reasonably adjusted to the night/day flip-flop by the time they arrived in Laos.
In the lobby of the Capitol Residence tower. A poignant relic from happier times.
Has it really only been four months since the ASEAN summit?
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And now, a walking tour of Chanthabuly (Central Vientiane).
And what walking tour would be complete without viewing the tangle of wires that passes for utility infrastructure in these parts. I see the utility company constantly adding cable, but rarely see them taking the old cable out. That’s growth, I guess, but at some point, something’s gotta give…right?
To give you an idea of just how crazy of a tangle some of these electrical tumbleweeds are, Lori recently spotted a dead pigeon in one. Upon further inspection it was apparent that the bird hadn’t been electrocuted, but had gotten itself trapped in the mess and couldn’t find its way out.
I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal thing or something new, but they seem to be developing the Don Chan beach more and more recently, making it quite an attractive prospect for checking out in the not too distant future.
We took Lori’s parents down to the Mekong Zone where the river bank is lined with local bars and restaurants for several hundred meters — the best place in town for catching a Mekong sunset with a drink in hand. And this time year, both are plentiful.
You may have noticed lately that if I’m not carrying the Mister, I’m carrying a burgundy-colored backpack.
Dave's Recommended Travel Gear of the Week:
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- Photo Gear — Panasonic Lumix ZS60K — Amazon: $399.99 $297.99
- Baby Gear — Ergobaby Omni 360 w/Cool Air Mesh — Amazon: $180 $139.81
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A few things about this particular pack worth noting.
Shortly after sharing the news with close family and friends in late 2015, we started to get recommendations on registry gifts. Suggestions started to stream in regarding diaper bags, of all things. I hated the idea of a big, bulky diaper bag, knowing full and well that I’d end up carrying it more than half the time.
Meanwhile, we were finding ourselves hiking a lot on the weekends and I was getting tired of bringing one of two daypacks that we had that was either too small to accommodate a lunch or just too big and cumbersome. I had been eyeing a lightweight, streamlined, mid-sized hydration pack for awhile, but hadn’t been able to justify the expense…until it occurred to me that a pack would be far more practical for carrying Noe’s accoutrements around and more compatible with our lifestyle. I mentioned the idea to Lori and she approved. We bought the pack and it even featured prominently in our baby announcement New Year’s card.
Ironically, we used the pack regularly in the months leading up to Noe’s birth, but didn’t use it for Noe’s first five months. Part of the issue was that we had packed it in our freight, which didn’t reach us in Laos until the first week of December. But now it follows us everywhere and we can’t imagine how we got by without it.
What’s in it, you ask? A diaper pouch (with 3-4 disposable diapers, 3-4 butt wipes, and bottle of hand sanitizer); portable changing mat; nursing cape and burp cloth; lightweight blanket to play on; change of clothes for Noe; 1-2 toys; mosquito repellent and sunscreen (for us); water (for us); my camera (when I’m not using it).
In the first week of Grammy and Grandpa’s visit, we finally had an excuse to stop by the excellent Lao Textile Museum, highlighting not only the weavers and craft of textile weavers in Laos, but traditional Lao culture, art and architecture as well.
At the end of the tour, visitors are encouraged to try indigo tea.
Travel Planning Resources We Use & Recommend
- Booking.com — Best rates on lodging worldwide.
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- Get Your Guide — Excellent tool for booking local guides and tours in advance for great rates.
- World Nomads — Top rated travel insurance that we've used for all our independent travels.
- 12Go — Top site for booking transport across Southeast Asia.
- NordVPN — Currently the best VPN out there for keeping your data secure safe online while traveling.