Bowling, Beers, and Big Lebowski in Laos
The last thing I thought I was going to do in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, was to go bowling. After a fellow traveler invited me for a game earlier that day, the only thoughts that distracted me all day was the scene of Jesus from the Big Lebowski. I couldn’t wait to go bowling.
In order to get to the bowling alley from our hotel, we had to take a 10 minute walk through the eeriest, darkest, widest street ever. It seemed that no cars or motorcycles were allowed on to the street and the local people avoided like the plague. A lone guard stood between us and when we asked nervously where the bowling alley was, he just pointed into the void and smiled like he was pushing us into a trap. When we saw a sign in neon red, “B WLING,” we were glad that our paranoia failed us.
Walking into the bowling alley was a blast from the past. It reminded me of my childhood days in the United States of bowling birthday parties. There was that musky smell of beer and cigarettes in the air that enhanced the reminder.
What made this a Lao experience was that when I ordered food, I ended up eating the only thing that they had on the menu, congee with shredded chicken and preserved egg. I couldn’t imagine why I shouldn’t order it. In addition, drinking Beer Lao on ice made everything more fun and exemplified our experience…and whenever I bowled all I heard was the Spanish version of Hotel California.
P.S. As of 2/2011, bowling is about $2.50 per game per person.