04 June 2007


Friday night A and I went out for dinner for his birthday. We tried a French- style restaurant with views above the water fountain nam phu called La Cave de Chateaux. It is probably one of the more classy restaurants in town, and is much cheaper than home. We sat upstairs where it has the traditional straw roofs were we could see a large gecko on the power pole. I had a grilled toast as an appetizer. It was quite unusual- it had slices of apple with a Swiss, smooth sweet style cheese on top. It also came with a substantially- sized salad. It was enjoyable. A had an onion soup. Honestly I have had so many variations of onion soup in my time I still don’t know what a good onion soup should taste like. I guess the onion soup tasted ok but would have expected more onion and I think it should have been more obvious what the base of the soup was!

I had duck breast for my main meal which I really enjoyed. It was cooked perfectly medium as I’d ordered it. It was probably a bird- flu risk but I think Vientiane is over it now. The red wine sauce was supposed to be caramelized, but it wasn’t, so it was too runny. It came with a small pile of morning glory (I cannot remember what this is called in Sydney, it’s the green vege usually eaten with shrimp paste, garlic and chilli, please help me someone), a roast tomato and a stack of potatoes much like a rosti. It was a very large meal. In Sydney we would probably consider this to be too much going on, on the plate for a restaurant like this. But that’s probably an excuse for having such small portions. So I’ve decided I like this huge plate of food which is more bistro style.

A had a steak with grilled mango, grilled green beans wrapped in bacon and a stack of potatoes. I had a taste and it was good. It was also a very large meal.

Both of us had nearly ordered a buffalo tartar but luckily from watching Mr Bean we didn’t order it, although if we had we would know exactly what to do. I had some profiteroles with ice- cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. It was delicious, but so rich, this definitely made me feel quite full. A had grilled bananas with banana ice- cream. That is too much banana for me, but I think A enjoyed it.

I liked the atmosphere. The waiter was very friendly, as Lao people generally, and attentive. My only complaint is people being allowed to smoke which is generally the case in Lao and the occasional person’s mobile ringing. Large portions, quality food means it’s quite good value so I will be back. I think I’ll be back to try the $6 US 3-course set menus.

Saturday I was happy to be out and about seeing as I had spent my last weekend in bed. I had a nice fruit salad and fruit shake for breakfast at a café in town. A tried to connect my computer to the internet to get it fixed, but my computer was going so slow, annoyingly, it did not get fixed.

A and I went to ITECC which is a large exhibition hall with a large supermarket. Out the back there are cows, water lilies and rice fields. We went to a Thailand exhibition there. There was nothing very interesting there, just a lot of clothing stalls, some food stalls and others selling random products such belts with huge skulls and motorbike locks. There were so many people there!

That afternoon I had foot/ leg massage at my local massage service which was very nice as my legs were a bit strained after cycling around the whole day. That night we went to a cocktail party at our friend’s place. Fruit and alcohol is so inexpensive here, it is feasible to host a cocktail party and have a sufficient alcohol collection to make them at home yourself. I think our household will have to invest in a blender.

Sunday I had breakfast by the pool on the river at the Australia Club. I went home and stayed inside the whole day because it was so hot and humid. Impressively, one of friends borrowed a projector from work. Another brought his sound system from his home down the road. So a few of us played the Wii with a huge picture projected onto the wall! Our living room seems perfect for it. I beat a friend at Wii boxing- his Mii was Amanda Vanstone and mine was Gandhi. I beat her up good. Other characters that were made that day include Jesus and a Michael Jackson which looked just disturbing. I also bought my first crate of beer. 12x 640mls cost around $11 AUD ($9USD).

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