10th November - we had an early start so i fell straight to sleep on the bus, and woke up to the beautiful north Vietnam - so picturesque i couldnt help but stay awake and admire it! It was like Halong Bay on land, mountains jutting up randomly. Saw lots of locals drying yam root on the sides of the road, and when we stopped for the toilet in a local village..well lets just say it was a new smelly experience!! We stopped at a local restaurant for noodle soup aka noodles in water!! mmm!! Roads got very mountainous and windy nearer Loas and we also saw a truck of dogs piled up on each other (to get killed and eaten) :( At the border we had to pay corruption, before driving into the sunset in the gorgeous country of Loas!!! We stayed in Lac Sao - which was very small and quiet...and there were no horns continuosly beeping like in Vietnam that I felt deaf!! In Vietnam if you didnt have a horn I dont think you'd be allowed on the road, they all use it every second of everyday!! In Lac Sao there was only one English restaurant called "Only One!" lol! was horrible but never mind!! Afterwards some of us went down a back alley towards some music to a building which looked like Santas Grotto covered with christmas decorations! Inside it was a quarter full and like an underage school disco! there was a dj on stage playing the electric keyboard and cds - reminded me of something out of phoenix nights! so funny!! as more kids turned up they kept asking us to dance which was great fun, I even had my own lil dance crew copying my every move!!
On the 11th we headed to the capital, Vientianne, which had amazing views again and great fruit shakes followed by a nice meal on the banks of the Mekong river! on the 12th we went sight seeing to a museum, the Emerald Buddha, That Luang and the Victory Gate before heading to Vang Vieng. Here the hotel was amazing with mountainous views and the river. We walked around and saw people drunk and battered after being tubing (which is where you sit in a rubber ring float down a river and get pulled into bars along it to buy cheap alcohol, loud music, and mingle before floating to the next bar!!). We went to see the end of the tubing in the dark and we heard guys still in the river screaming in agony but couldnt see them..was horrible!! We went for a meal and saw the Gap group who were ahead of us, before going out for a bucket of drink!! Vang Vieng is such a party place, Pong was right when he said Loas people are more interested in having a good time rather than saving money!
Friday the 13th!!! (bad luck for some including Vicci!!)
we had breakfast by the river before hiring bikes and cycling around. we went swimming in a cave, and then climed about a million steps into another cave which was pretty dark in places and a rat run over viccis foot which was pretty funny when every1 started screamin!! We cycled around a bit more but vicci then fell off and got a bit bruised but was ok. It was then time for Tubiinnnngg!! was amazing! we got there and the first bar was full of people, great music and people swinging from ropes and zip lines into the river with people holding score boards like "do it again naked" "keep swimming you suck" "nice landing that will leave a mark"!! my new found love for mojitos was found at the mojito bar followed by a mud bath fight, spray painting our bodies, volley ball in the mud before viccis accident happened when she jumped from the top of a platform into the river and got a massive deep gash in her heal!! ouch! me by this time was very drunk and thought puttin lemon on her cut as a natural anticeptic would be gd but she was having none of it...gave us a gd giggle afterwards tho! im such a spoon!! lol!! she was drunk so not in much pain so we hopped on the tubes and floated on down. it got dark really quickly so me and vic got out at the first set of stairs..which was freaking hard! we got a tuk tuk to the tubing place and vic jumped on a motorcycle cos of her foot and i walked. During tubing i lost my board shorts, my flip flops and sunglasses and my so called 50m water resistant watch also broke after one splash of water...wasnt happy!! So i brought some flip flops and top to walk back in. I ran and got vicci some dinner and attempted to apply butterfly stitches!! I then went out for food with the group which didnt sober me up much, and Pong said he would take vicci to the hospital when back. I thought she would be waiting for ages so went to a bar with the others (bad decision) and lost track of time without my watch. my plan was to go to the hospital after 1!! time flew and the bar shut so we went back and vic was in the room. She got seen straight away and they didnt speak any english to her so i wouldnt have been much help, especially in my state!! she got 4 stitches which apparently was very painful!! and told not to walk on it. so she had her 3 bad luck things that day!! do wish i just went to the hospital and sobered up there tho as we had a long windy bus journey next morning, but i think vicci would have broken my hand by the sounds of it...she needed 5 people to hold her down!!
14th Luang Prabang - the day of hills and stairs!
We arrived late and went to the night market which was awesome, very pretty and so many things to choose from i could have spent loads! on the 15th we hired a bike and saw Wat Xiang Thong (temple of gold city). We then went to the popular waterfalls where we could go swimming which was sooo nice!! There was also a bear sanctuary there, but we were told if they werent in there then in the wild they would just be hunted and killed. We trekked to the top of the biggest waterfall which was a mission (especially for me who doesnt like hills or stairs)!! When we got back we cycled to Phusi Hill for the sunset, and after running up about 300+ steps we were too late and missed it lol! gutted! nice view though!
16th - some of us woke up at 5am to go and see the monks come from the temples around to roam the streets to collect food from the locals (normally sticky rice) which was all the food they recieved for the day!! I brought some to give to them, but they seemed to give most of mine to little boys walking along side them who were apparently very poor and even though the monks didnt get much food, they still gave back to the poor boys. there was about 500 monks, and was quite sureal to see!! We then boarded our spacious pretty long boat on the Mekong and headed down river to Pakbeng (9hours). Pak Beng was small and only had electricity from 6am-10am and 6pm-10pm. We arrived late and went for a meal by candle light, and the small roadside shops were also lit with candles. There were lots of bugs around so i put up my mozzy net which kept falling down so gave up with that idea!! but am 5.30am a freaking huge cricket with wings and spikey bum crash landed on the back of my neck making me scream and sit bolt upright in the dark as it jumped on me!! I managed to hit it away and grab my torch to see it on the floor. Vic wasnt much help, she said "its fine get in my bed" thinking it wouldnt get her and then just said she was sleeping! so i bashed the insect with a water bottle over and over again and laid in bed with my torch until the electricity came on!! new experience which i didnt enjoy!!
17th we got back on the boat and had a very nice lunch made for us. further down the river we had loas on one side and thailand on the other! we got to the border and sorted forms out before heading to Chang Khong. It was our last night with everyone :( . We were going to watch the meteors buts it rained!! The next day we headed to Chaing Mai, stopping at Wat Rong Khun - an all white temple with silver decorations. Was very pretty and different and had modern sci-fi pictures of batman, starwars etc inside!! random!! When we arrived we went to a hospital where they said viccis foot was fine. It was very laid back and swabs were kept in a rusty metal tin! and the nurses were wearing uniforms which looked the the ones id wear for fancy dress on a night out hehe!! We explored a little before saying goodbye to the group! Was very sad!!