Sunday, April 03, 2011

Flying not-so-high with Lao Airlines

We arrived in Cambodia in style: via an airplane! We had a fantastic time at Sunshine School, but other than that, after a month (and one day) in Lao, we were ready to high-tail it out of there. We wanted to stay until Friday of our second week at the school and so we had to extend our Lao visa for one extra day. This involved a trip to the dreaded Immigration Office at which we were bounced around in typical Lao style to pay one fee at this window, fill out this incomprehensible paperwork at another window, pay another fee in a different currency at another window, redo the paperwork, pay another fee at yet another window and so on until we walked out of the Immigration Office with significantly lighter pockets and an insatiable urge to hop on the next bus out of town. Instead, we skipped our afternoon classes in favour of a trip to the travel agency where we purchased two very expensive plane tickets from Vientiane to Siem Reap with Lao Airlines.

I was pretty nervous about flying, especially with Lao Airlines and especially on the tiny 60 seater plane that was flying the route. I was telling friends at the school how nervous I was about the whole thing and realized how ridiculous I must have sounded to people who have never and probably will never, be on a plane in their lives. 'This plane is too small for me! I want a bigger plane!' Ok, Goldilocks. Either way, the distance was barely a few hundred kilometers, we had a stopover in Southern Lao, and the whole trip was going to take at least three hours. In the end though, I was pleasantly surprised. Other than the fact that my carry-on bag didn't fit in the overhead compartment, nor under the seat and therefore ended up under my feet.. that is allowed here, apparently. The flight was smooth, the service was great, and, they even fed us! Twice! Who are we trying to kid? It was the food that won me over. The first flight was about an hour, we flew low, probably because this teeny weeny propeller plane couldn't push us any higher, but it was nice to be able to watch the landscape unravel below us. They fed us breakfast, which included dessert. Yes! We landed in Pakse, Southern Lao, were run through exit Immigration and directly back onto the plane. There were only about ten of us on the second leg of the trip and my bag was able to have its own seat in the adjacent seats (J: believe me, it needs its own seat!). They didn't even go through this-is-how-you-buckle-your-seatbelt spiel on the second flight. As soon as we were on board, the engine roared to life and we took off down the runway. I guess you don't have to wait for an opening when you are the only plane in the entire airport. Then they fed us a 'snack' which again, included a dessert. After my heart, this Lao Airlines is. We landed a little after 9am and I had eaten two meals already! At least we arrived in Cambodia on a full stomach!

1 comment:

Parentals said...

Isaiah is here and says to say 'chao"! He particularily liked the picture of the 'batmobile'. Very interesting temple pictures....especially how the tree roots have grown around them.
Your bag should be lighter now that you sent the 'scarf a day' package home.
Love MOM P