Air Asia flight bound for Wattay International Airport in Vientiane. Hmmm, I’ll just let the nostalgia sit in for a bit. Just 3 years ago, I was scampering across the streets of Vientiane with a Frenchman who couldn’t handle his alcohol, got snubbed by some tuk-tuk drivers (just like Thailand), and ended up walking home angrily, leaving the Frenchman behind (had no idea where he was after a few drinks). I know, it sounds like a trip from hell, and it sorta was. I paid next to nothing to stay in a garbage garbage room ($10 USD a night) and it was infested with mosquitoes (ripped me to shreds that night) and had spider nests in each corner of the bathroom. That was the last time I was cheap (LOL). The next day, however, I stayed in something sexy, met a funny guy in the immigration line, came across a wonderful breakfast with great locals and so many other things. I wanted to go back to my roots — just a bit — to relive some of those special moments.
Check-In + Security + Immigration = 5 minutes
Like, how can you beat that? Hey, I went from checking in, to the immigration line, to going through screening in FIVE MINUTES at Don Meuang International Airport (the sister of the massive one in Samut Prakan — located in south Bangkok). Now, the other airport that I refuse to spell does a pretty good job, too. However, I went from a traffic jam, to walking 400 meters to the airport, weaving through traffic (and I mean pedestrians) and got to my counter exactly 3 hours before check-in. Wow! Oh, throw in a workout I had this morning that included a crazy amount of arms and legs (which equates to soreness) and there you have it! It hasn’t even reached 10am and it feels like I’ve been awake for 8 hours already.
I was a little bit scared about my hotel (S Park Design Hotel) because I received a number of emails from them….same emails. I received the 8th one over the course of four days and said, “guys, I’ve already emailed you! What’s happening?” Thanks to my instinct, I checked booking.com’s messaging screening through my email and they had responded to me, giving me their whatsapp number. So, I contacted them and they confirmed everything with suburb service!
[9:34 AM, 6/13/2018] S Park design: Hello Mr. Arsenio Buck, Thank you very much for contacting me.
[9:37 AM, 6/13/2018] S Park design: We will be there waiting for you for sure. Actually, we planned to pick you up even if we might not have your flight number. Anyway, it is perfect now. By the way, my name is Phonepasith PHENGVILAY, Executive Assistant Manager. My team and I are delighted to be part of your good stay at our hotel. See you soon. Take care.
Now that’s some damn good service!
Ascending was already a pain in the ass, but what was even worse was descending. We were flying around some pretty dark clouds and it was tossing the plane as if was a god damn toy. After descending to about 1000 feet, we could finally see the ground. What guided me through this turbulence? Aloe Blacc’s “The Man.” LOL!
Failed Visa — Again!
I had no idea that I needed a visa on arrival. Last time I came to Laos, which was three years ago, I didn’t need a visa. But because I didn’t check this time around, I was in for a rude awakening. I had Lao Kip (local currency) and I brought only 66$ with me. The visa was more than half of that, so now I have about 20$ USD left! DAMNIT! I’m so pissed because I didn’t learn from my past mistakes!
The Arrival At My Hotel
And these are the days I live for. The overwhelming sense of joy when meeting such gracious people who are willing to help you. From the customer service, to the hospitality. It’s pretty remarkable to see the willingness of other people’s actions. All smiles (just as last time), funky hotel (pictures down below), and a very quaint room. This is only the beginning!
The rest of the stay is in my podcast. I don’t want this blog being insanely long.