Vang Vieng is one cool town. Its completely overrun with drunken, partying tourists, but its situated along a river among the mountains and has restaurants of every type galore. I can’t help myself. I love this place.
We’re supposed to go tubing today but we’re off to a slow start..
We share a tuk tuk- a motorcycle with a cage like cart on the back perfectly purposed for carting tourist around- with an Australian couple, and three German girls. It’s begun to rain. I can’t help but pout. I wanted to go tubing today, and the weather is not cooperating. We’re going down to the river anyways just to see whats the big fuss.
Bars line the river. Free shots of Laos whiskey are given at the entrance of each bar. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Its just a drunken party along the river. Were I warmer, I might enjoy myself more, but all I wanted was to go tubing today, not getting drunk by four in the afternoon in crappy weather. Why did I not bring warmer clothes? Its winter for goodness sakes.
We see the Irish bloke we met last night. He doesn’t remember us. He’s been drunk for 30 days straight. He’s a hilarious fellow, with red hair, and calls himself, “the ginger man.” He plants his legs, bends his knees and does a funny jig when he introduces himself. He says he has a pain his back, we're pretty sure its his liver.
|"side effects to our malaria tablets. We especially like the oe that says 'breast-feeding'"|
We’re staying an extra day. The sky is clear, and the sun has emerged bright and shiny as a newly minted coin.. We’re going tubing today. A number is written on our hand in permanent ink. Tourists, especially the drunk, rowdy ones have been known to take others tubes while they’re at the bars and profit on the deposit thats returned to you upon return of the tube unscathed. These people, the ones who are drunk before noon, give westerners such a good name.
The water is a bit chilled from the rains yesterday, but I’m ecstatic to be tubing again.
A water bottle slams into my face knocking my sunglasses off. Two men standing on a platform in the middle of the river are waving happily at me. A rope is attached to the water bottle so that one can be pulled into the bars. I tuck in my growl, and say “no thank you” as they balk that I'm not tubing to go the bars.
Groups of children with baskets are collecting the riverweed. They eat it after its been fried and salted. Its like seaweed except from the river. I can’t help thinking, “shouldn’t they be in school?”
|We took a cooking class and cooked four dishes. They were all fantastic: Penang, Laotian sweet and sour, Laotian pad thai, and a coconut curry soup.|
9:00 am is when were supposed to be picked up for our trip North to Luang Prabang. They’re never been on time. We choose a minivan over a bus this time. It might have been the wrong decision. Half of us don’t have backings; no support for our necks or heads for six hours. The road is serpentine and twists our stomachs until everyone in the car wants to hurl.
Without a hotel room booked, we wander around a bit looking for rooms. We run into two of the Aussies in our van. With six in our group, we’re able to negotiate for better rates. Score! And whats more, we’ve made friends, and we’re going to dinner with them.
Lao Lao Garden is amazing! Its set outside, under the night sky, with a cool breeze drafting through. Water buffalo is a fantastic meat. Some of their cocktails use coconut milk. Unconventional- but delicious. We're coming back here for sure!