Night is heavy and thick here in Vientiane. Planted palms, potted vegetation and gutter puddles line the walks. Beautiful and ancient with people eating, cooling down, and sharing stories of the day. It's dark but home lights glow. Some sit in chairs outside to talk and prep food. Some have open front walls/doors. An old man with boxer shorts, toes in a bucket, watching Thai television.
On the corner yard, a round cement table full of men and women are singing to the tune of "happy birthday" with one huge candle stuck in a 2 liter soda bottle. Kids are playing and laughing. Motorbikes with 1 year olds up front ride past us, as do boys popping balloons.
We weave back the short distance from supper to the Lane Xang Hotel on foot, cruising past bright green leaves big as surfboards. Ripe orange fruit I've never seen before has fallen to the ground and we are beside ourselves with post-meal amazement (more on the INCREDIBLE Mak Phet later). We are completely satisfied, and ready for sleep in cold sheets.
Then wouldn't you know it.
Our lobby was rocking like your Uncle Dan and Aunt Jerry from France were losing their skulls.
This is what it looked like. Partially. Right out of Lao Twin Peaks.
These insane mom tourists from beyond the sun, apparently needed to land on Laos to clap it to death. The hotel staff was so wonderful, and seemingly pleased by their guests. So accomodating, and welcoming to anyone. If this was America, eye rolling and spitting in beers would be off the grid.
Oh, the singer also doubles as our hotel desk clerk. During the day, Somphet wears a blinding lime-green blazer and I swear to god, when he smiles, you can see diamonds.