Laos was a mistake. The French screwed up and added an ‘s’ to the end of Lao. The people of Lao never said anything, and the mistake was spread and now the whole western world calls this place Laos, instead of Lao.
We are now in Vientiane, the Lao capital. It does not feel like a capital at all; it is a very quiet laid back city not at all like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Today we are taking a bus North on the infamous Hwy 13 that has had a few instances of violence in recent years. We hope to make it to Luang Prabang in one piece.
Everyone we have met has had only good things to say about Lao, and we look forward to our travels here. The only negative I can think of is the large amount of unexploded ordnance left behind from the secret war in Lao; the US subjected Lao to three million tons of bombing in a war that never officially existed; the heaviest U.S.-led bombing campaign since World War II; 30% of the ordnance dropped did not detonate. This will prevent us from going well off the beaten track.