31-5 November 06
after our six hour white knuckle bus ride we finally ended up in Vang Vieng. Before we tell you about Vang Vieng we have a little story about the journey there. It all started when we noticed the bus steward carrying an AK47 riffel. James leaned over to ask the scottish man in frount was it normal for people to carry guns on Laos buses (no kids egg the driver on this bus!). The scottish man replyed that on this route between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng there has been a number of ambush attacks on buses, in one case two tourists were killed. Just to add to this, the number of the road we were on was route 13! D D Darrre!!!!! So after setting off with that bit of info parts of the anatomy were twitching, but luckily enough we arrived in safely Vang Vieng.
Vang Vieng is famouse for two things:- Tubing & TV bars.
Let us explaine:- by day everyone goes tubing. This involves hiring a giant tracktor inner tube for three dollars and floating down the Namsom river surrounded by beautiful limestone cliffs everywhere. Very peaceful you might think, but all down the banks of the river are these wooden bars playing either Bob Marley, sixties love songs or rave; something for everyone! As you float past the bars, if you wan't to stop they extend out a very long bamboo pole and pull you in, the locals call this falang fishing. (Falang means foreigner).
Once in the bars you get the menu selling opium tea, opium spliffs, weed spliffs, magic mushroom tea, mushroom shakes as well of course as Beer lao at 30p per pint. While enjoying these local specialities there is a large network of makeshift swings and zip lines all very safe of course, great fun! The tubing run from start to finish takes around two hours but with bars included, most people spend the whole day on this pub crawl. It is worth sitting at the tubing finish at sun set just to see some of the states of the falangs after their day.
After tubing all day begins the TV bars, the moto is 'No TV, No Falangs,' (no Friends or Simpsons on tele, no customers) it's terrible! Sad you might think but very addictive, everyone lying around on makeshift beds, comfortable cushions, Homer and Phoebe Buffet, great!
We'll also have to mention our five pound per night hotel (one of the best in town) and that was double the normal price for the view (see pics).
After tubing all day and watching episode after episode of friends, we then toddled up to our favourite Lao restaurante- Nokio's. This was run by an elderly Lao couple, they were lovely, tempted to take them home. This was the only Lao restaurant in Viang Vieng, all the rest only sold the usual foreign fodder- chips, burgers, happy pizza's and happy garlic bread. Any guesses for what the 'happy' means?
That's all for now, next stop the Lao capital Vientiane, update soon
Danielle & James ****************************************