December 25, 2018 – Tuesday

Weather: 31 Celsius – Sunny and hot

Merry Christmas! We woke up early for a special event. At 5:45 am, John, Sam, Ken and I were outside waiting for transportation at the Grand Hotel Riverside 2. A little truck full of passengers picked up people at Grand Hotel Riverside 1 – where we went.

At the site, the twenty something foreigners watched the preparation of the material. Yes, we were going on a 45 minutes hot balloon ride to admire the sunrise from high above. It was a first for John, Sam and Ken. 

At 6:45 am, the view was spectacular on the landscape, fields and trees under us, mountains in the background, and the bright shiny sun into the clouds. All was pleasant – experimenting a floating sensation, almost living in slow motion. We took pictures, videos or simply embraced the moment. It was a symbolic and personal way to say farewell to the enchanting Vangvieng. Thanks to John who decided to do this activity and invited us. 

Back to the hotel, we had breakfast. John and Sam went to rest in their room. John wasn’t feeling well. Possibly it was a reaction to the local food taken at the Na Yè village. Sometimes your stomach can be disturbed.

We left Vangvieng at noon sharp. And we arrived in Vientiane close to 4:30 pm. We were in familiar turf, at the hotel Douang Deuane. John and Sam planned to leave tomorrow morning. They wisely opted to go to sleep and recover as much as possible before the continuation of their trip in Cambodia and South Korea.

At 8:30 pm, Ken, Sengkeo and I went to the popular Suntara restaurant. The view over the river was so nice. Ken invited me to join his Lao friends, Chittakone, Malaythong and their son Ben, from Australia. They were donors for SKL and attended the inauguration of Ban Na Chantai in 2016. They had to leave tomorrow for Vietnam before heading back to Canberra. We were very happy to meet them and celebrate Christmas together, eating and drinking Lao Beer.