Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laos on a Million a Day

Our room on the whole second floor balcony
A daily trip to the ATM has developed into a ritual because of the local currency which the current exchange is 8,000 Kip to 1 American Dollar. We've discovered buying some gifts, fruit smoothie drinks, coffees, eating, transportation and a night at a guesthouse can average almost a million a day. The ATM vending machines restrict the maximum amount of withdrawal per transaction but allow multiple transactions and of course each transaction is accompanied by a transaction fee. Oh these financial wizards have this ATM business dialed in!

Finely woven silk fabric
Today we checked out of our luxury hotel at noon, walked down the road and found a beautiful room with a balcony over looking the Nam Kham River. We scored the best room in the place which only has about six rooms, with a nightly cost of $320,000.00. Once settled we into our new room, I inquired about renting a couple bicycles and soon after began touring around the city, first visiting a village of fabric weavers across the river but first we had to pay the bamboo bridge toll fee of $5000.00 Kip each. ( Kips fly out of my pockets like moths to a porch light) Walking through the village Sharon fell in love with the silk fabric woven by these very talented women and bought a silk scarf for $200,000.00. Then we returned to our bikes, slowly pedaled through the main part of town, stopped at the ATM to reload and tried a new restaurant called Roots and Leaves set on the edge of a large fish pond. The lunch was incredible array of Lao dishes such as Spicy Fish Watercress Salad, Vermicelli noodles and Eggplant Caviar wrapped in Colandar Leaves, and Water Buffalo Grilled Steak. Our drinks were Mango and mixed fruit, still water, and....yes a Margarita! I just had to try one and it was spot on tasty. Well that added up to a tidy $296,000.00.  We are now in our siesta mode but latter will be desert time and when you add it all up....one million cool big ones.
Vermicelli and Eggplant Caviar with a cup of peanuts & dried peppers

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