We arrived in Vientiane after 16 days in China. A few days before our departure from Beijing we decided that our time in Vientiane needed to be more recovery and less exploring. That decision led us to Mike and Xoukiet and their lovely home on the outskirts of Vientiane. I emailed Mike with short (24 hour) notice and he fired off a quick email indicating that he was accepting our AirBnB request. We would figure it out, that I should send the flight info and he would meet us at the airport and not to worry all would be well.
In fact, it was more than we could have expected. Mike met us at the airport, even though our flight was over two hours late. On the way back to his home he gave us a quick rundown on Lao history. Our original plan was to spend two nights, but if you elect to stay with Mike and Xoukiet, you will be sorely tempted to extend your stay. We stayed four days. We are a family of four (two boys age 16 and 13) traveling for a year and it was as if we had come to see an uncle that we hadn’t seen in a few years.
During those four days we went shopping for furniture and supplies with Mike, helped him set up an out building for an incoming intern from China, attended the “Wig Bizarre” (a fund raiser put on by the diplomatic community that included performances and food stalls,) and weathered an incredible monsoonal downpour while in their pool.
The boys spent part of each day catching up on homework, Mike’s house includes an upstairs area with a large table and white board. Colin has decided that math on a white board is definitely the way to go!
Mike engaged our sons in discussions about Lao history, our travels, and the challenges facing the world. Dinner each night was wonderful as new guests came and went. Mike’s famous gin and tonics (in my case I opted for vodka and tonic—a bad college experience is to blame) started the evening and Xuciet’s Lao meals were wonderful. She works for the United Nations and has her own powerful insights on a number of topics. Conversation flowed often late into the evening.
An incredible four days.
Mike and the boys continue to correspond about the state of the world, and how their generation might make a better go of it.