Vientiane, capital of Laos, is situated on a bend in the Mekhong river, which will follow our way down south Laos, crossing Cambodia and up to south Vietnam. The city is the country’s hub for travel to the rest of the country and it can be visited in one day and the truth is that there is not much to see. There are still few traditional wood houses and colonial mansions, but most of the city is now full of concrete structures with little appeal. We walked along the streets, explored the market, saw some nice French colonial houses, a couple of Buddhist temples and that was it.
At least we found one little stall in Talat Sao market which seemed the only place in the whooooole city that apparently could fix the camera. It was one of this stalls where they open up any electrical device with very basic but effective equipment, gut their contents and reassemble everything again as a puzzle. The guy had all short of watches, mobile phones and digital cameras and little bits and bobs all around. It was the kind of place where you wouldn’t trust to leave any valuable, just in case they mess it up even more, but hey! we where pretty desesperate and this was our only chance in the whole country (the alternative was to go back to Bangkok). So he worked for more than 3 hours on the camera, opened it up to the very little pieces, cleaned he dirt here, put some grease there, soldered few wires and played with it for a long time until he succeded to make the camera work again…. for a while. The lense is fixed, it can open and close properly, we can swith on and off the camera, and even take pictures, but after 1 minute being on the screen blaks out and asks you to switch the camera off. We don’t really know what’s the problem and this guy couldn’t fix it, but he was so nice he didn’t even charged us a kip for the long time he was working on it since it wasn’t completely repaired. At least some good news!! It seems we will have to wait until being back in Bangkok to fix it properly and in the meantime use the camera as little as we can. Mission half-accomplished, we can now head south Laos and continue with our trip.