Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RIP, Neck Pillows

*For Andrew and Laura combined; when colors disappear from chart, that means that pillow died along the way. As in, we lost it.

That one was a little complicated. In sum, we have no more neck pillows, and plenty of traveling left.

We had to renew our visas a few weeks ago, so we set up a trip to Laos via Udon, a city where one of Andrew's best mission buddies lives. Wongsagorn and his wife tagged along with us to the Laotian capital, and we had a blast together. I was so glad to finally meet this mission friend Andrew loves so much. He is the branch president of the little LDS congregation on the border, a tough job that he performs very well! It was great to spend time with them, and we are already planning their trip to visit us in America!

We went to a beautiful statue garden. Each statue represented a story from Buddhism teachings. I was so impressed--"How old is this place?!" I asked. Wongsagorn said it was nearly 25 years old. Oh. Cool, I guess.

We got to eat at an Indian restaurant Andrew frequented on his mission. Ali, the owner, moved his restaurant to Udon recently. Andrew: "Do you remember me?" Ali: "Sure, why not?" He was a funny guy, and his food was delicious.

Andrew and Wongsagorn on an abandoned ship. They had fun playing together on the trip.

Walking on the friendship bridge between Thailand and Laos. We could only walk halfway, but we drove across the next day.

We went out for Vietnamese food on the border. Really good. These two are besties.

Dinner was right on the river, and we got to watch the sunset. Of course pictures don't do it justice, but I wanted to remember that we got to see it in real life!

A temple in Vientiane. It was really really hot in Vientiane. We rode bikes around the city, which made transportation easier and comfort nil.

There were some kittens inside one temple, and Wongsagorn started meowing. He was really good at it. All the kittens ran to him, more came out from behind chairs and pillars, and they followed him around everywhere! So funny!

Of course we had to get Swensen's ice cream together.

Here's all four of us. Wongsagorn's wife was really nice, and I could tell we would be friends if either of us spoke the other's language.

We also got to visit the LDS church in Vientiane! It's a converted French house in the city. Beautiful. The church isn't officially recognized in Laos, and the government doesn't allow the name of the church to be on the building, so it is called Deseret International Charities. We got to speak to the branch president there, and he showed us around the whole building. I loved this part of our trip!

This is us and Tippetok, our guide (also a mission buddy of Andrew's), on the lawn of the church.

View from Victory Monument, a mediocre replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is unfinished and made of concrete.

Laotian Pepsi.

All four of us in front of Victory Monument.

Saying goodbye at the bus station! We had such a great trip. And we got our visas and got back across the border safely!

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