The first night in Laos

We’re strolling along the sidewalk. It’s getting dark. The crowds are starting to roam the streets.

I’ve been in Vientiane now for half a day. The friends I met on the train split up with me for the afternoon, but we’ve rejoined now. Now’s the time to go out for the evening, time to find something to eat.

There’s a fair mix of people surrounding us along the street here: local vendors trying to milk the industry, retired westerners enjoying the prices in Thai Baht,┬áLaotian women riding up and down on their scooters, and young guys like me, short-termers, some of us here for the experience, others just for the visa run.

There’s a 20-something leaning on a scooter in front of us, flirting with one of the riders. As my friends and I approach, Travis notices them too.

“Wow,” he says. “She’s good.”

“Really?” says Matt. “How do you know?”

“I just know.”

We pass.

Just around the corner, we see another guy watching them, holding two backpacks.

Travis looks back toward the two at the scooter. “Your buddy’s talking to a man,” he says.

“Nuh-uh,” says the guy with the backpacks.

“Yeah,” says Travis.

And we keep walking.