My visa is expiring so I rush out of Thailand across the friendship bridge to Vientiane. I was surprised to find a very accommodating and friendly people. Vientiane is more quiet and relaxing than Bangkok or Manila. My favorite activity was to order my dinner along the Mekong River and watch the sunset. The food is good, Lao beer is one of the best, and sunset is free. You should try Lao coffee, also the best coffee I've had.
I took the bus to Vang vieng and stayed in one of the places along the river. Tried tubing and went on a trip with other travelers to a cave where I was told, locals used to hide during a Chinese invasion sometime in the 19th century. I noticed a strange smell and saw some of my fellow travelers smoking. I asked an Australian guy what it was. He said it was marijuana so I asked where he got it. He was surprised that I didn't know - he said all the accommodations were selling it and if I wanted, he could introduce me to someone who sold it cheaply.
I continued my journey to Luang Prabang. Again, I stayed in a place next to the river and enjoyed the temple and other sights. My plan was to continue to Luang Nam Tha and exit by slow boat through Huay Xai as I knew the place and had visited Chang Khiong before.
My third day in Luang Prabang was a bit traumatic. A swedish girl lost her passport and money and was accusing the guesthouse staff of stealing it. We bluffed the staff that we were going to the police but if the passport was returned they could have the money. It worked. The manager said the staff did have the passport - they found it under the pillow in her room - but the problem now was that the Swedish girl decided she wanted her money back in full as she was now sure they had it. After, a lot of talking to the Manager, she got her money back. The manager said that it was two young workers who had found it and kept it - though I doubt that they had not reported it to him.
I had had a very enjoyable time at Luang Prabang and now my impression of this innocent place where materialistic things weren't important was shattered. I don't think the two young workers did it on purpose. During my three days, I have interaction with these two workers and found them very respectful and nice. I believe the two young workers did inform the manager and he in turn kept it and passed the blame to them when he got cornered.
Due to this incident, we all decided to check out. We hired a public transport to send us all back to Vientiane.