Our eyes are glittering and our hearts are full. Vientiane on the Mekong is full of fairy dust. Soaring gilded Wats, an Asian Arc de Triomphe on an Asian Champs Élysées, a giant King with a sensible hat and a big sword pointing across the river half wistfully, half threateningly at the Thais just across the surging Mekong.
Statues of horsies and eleflumps, (evidently to intimidate the Thais whose hoarse and amused laughter can be heard wafting faintly across the water). Broken eleflumps (who it seems could no longer stand the pressure of symbolising a non existent threat); fierce water dragons wondering where the water went; fiercer condiments in plastic bottles standing next to jars of snake beans and tomatos; yummer-licious fish ball and flake noodles; lovely ladies lunching; laughable public signage allegedly describing a truly mentally monumental arch, replete with dancing deities below and posing red dress swishing Chinese ladies above; spectaculatly bad hotel lobby art and finally, …after all this excitement, … seven or eight (or twelve) bottles of excellent cold Lao Beer on an extraordinary balcony overlooking the Mekong blearily (and beerilly) watching the sun go down over Siam with expats, backpackers, lady boys and our mate Ian (Shackers) Shacklove, a recently retired Londoner, social activist, mate of Jeremy Corbyn and champion beer guzzler. (It seems the secret lies in relaxing the epiglottis sufficiently). Let it never be said that our blog isn’t chockers with useful and educational tips.