Here we are, back in Vientiane. What a relief! We stayed a few weeks at various guest houses, and got our fill of the cheap eats around town. Valerie got a job teaching and we found an apartment thanks to JC realty who are the only ones in town worth their salt. The owner, Cameron, is from Australia and quite nice despite the bad rap Aussies get on our new favorite show "Flight of the Concords" which, thankfully, we are able to watch on HBO. Did I mention how much I love TV?
Cameron picked us up to see an apartment and a house, spoke Lao with the owners and negotiated for us. We went with the apartment because it is newer and nicer and we frankly don't need a huge house. We are very pleased with our new pad- a two bedroom, two bath, two story, furnished flat for $350 a month. This is pricey for Vientiane, but not outrageous. Though we know people who rent for less than $100 and have seen some places that cheap, they aren't places we want to live.
We're also pleased because we are a five minute walk from the gym, a bike ride from Valerie's school, and a 10 minute tuk tuk ride from downtown for about $1.20 give or take. We've got the aforementioned cable, and wireless internet with speeds up to 5Mb/s. There is a mini-mart across the street and several restaurants and shops within walking distance, though these days we are almost exclusively cooking for ourselves now that we can again. In general you can get almost anything you need here though, of course, imported items may cost a bit more.
In addition to the ease of daily life, which I have come to realize is very important to me, I just feel happy here because the people all around me are happy. In general, Laos seems to be a peaceful place where people aren't afraid to smile at strangers. We really only just arrived, but so far the vibe is quite friendly. I hope it stays that way.
So here we are. Time to get back to writing the screenplay, figure out a way to get the Xiosynth fixed or buy a new sound card and start playing music again.