The fourth day in Laos. A few conversations with changemakers, a little bit of sightseeing, and above all finding ourselves in the new reality. Laos is theoretically similar to Thailand, but at the same time completely different.
Firstly you notice rubbish. Much more than in Thailand. People smile less. But taxi drivers also less insistently try to put you into their taxi. Laos is less cheap (which still doesn’t mean expensive). The capital is small, you can reach almost every point on foot. Changamaking here has to be a hard job, but satisfactory one. It’s not easy to find changemakers so if you meet one he/she almost certainly will be a person with great passion and determination. People in general party more, dance more, celebrate more. The food is still quite spicy and rather with meat.
Without big differences in that case except of bread. There is a lot of bread here and it’s cheap. Above all baguettes and it’s not the only French influence (consequence of colonialism). There are plenty of cafes, almost all with free wifi. Not many shopping malls, if any rather under construction. If someone sells something, in 10 shops in a row the same thing. 10 shops with fabrics one by one, and then 20 with different kind of lotteries, another 15 with fruits. And so on. Language is quite similar, still not possible to understand. You see Buddhism everywhere, a lot of temples, but people seem to be less religious. Monks robes are bright orange, and the monks seem to work more, including also physical work. You can see communist flags everywhere, but beside that on the street you don’t feel communism so much.
However, it can be noticed in conversations with people about the situation in Laos. There is many people from abroad, but they rather live and work here than visit the country as tourists. They have beautiful river. Beautiful sunsets. And a lot of life around the water: street fitness, food, parties, different kind of sports.
All of those are just first impression. Can be completely wrong.