Hazy moon last night, haze over river this morning. Light rain, enough to cake sandals in mud before takeoff. Heading south west towards Vientiane. Laos is a notably much slower pace than rest of South East Asia - and a welcome break after the chaos of Cambodia. People seem shyer, less likely to approach, almost diffident about serving you in shops (although we pulled into side road near a military post to wait for Guy to catch up, and man in uniform with a weapon over his shoulder had no problems gesturing for us to move on). The capital Vientiane was a pleasant surprise - not the usual crowded small roads and alleys full of markets, stalls, people and vehicles, but wide streets, huge stately buildings, and traffic actually obeying road rules.
Found visitors centre and helpful English speaking man marked a city map with hotels with parking, garages for vehicle repairs, central post office, and freight depots - should keep us busy for awhile. Booked into Riverside hotel with balcony overlooking the Mekong.Lunched (“sorry not have burgers”). Changed to Travel Sim to call Thailand about our repaired camera (delays in sending parcels through post due to customs/import tax mean it may not arrive before we leave ) then found that the Laos sim locked me out... no more phone or emails until resolved. I recalled the fellow in Savannakhet had ended up selling me the sim out of his own phone during the frustrating explanations and demonstrations, not a new one with pin/ puk numbers on a card. Next hour and half spent trying to find Unitel dealer in city to unlock phone, finally gave up and bought new sim from Beeline. Went on to post office and was amazed to find our chairs and fans had arrived from Australia intact although they'd been opened/ inspected by customs. Bless good friends like the Maxwells! Located freight companies and checked the prices/ procedure for shipping items home... the camp ovens etc can cost anything up to $AU650, more than they are worth. Enough for one day, on to find mechanics tomorrow.