16th - 20th June 2009
On arrival in Vang Vieng we walked from the highway across an old runway used during the war into a pleasant little town we had high hopes of. The room we found had leaky taps blocked drains and faulty wiring but we liked it none the less. The manager was a strange pommy fellow. He came into our room to fix the power point and I tried to make conversation and said to him 'How long have you been in Vang Vieng?' He looked at me funny and said 'number nine' and pointed at a sign on the wall that can be found in every room. It had a list of questions not to ask Nick as the answers were all stated. So I said 'Well there's nothing left for us to talk about then' and we sat there in an awkward silence while he finished re wiring. He turned out to be a nice guy that just had a strange sense of humor.
The next day it rained like cats and monkeys and our room started to flood as the drain was still blocked. They moved us to another room down the hall but the water went down the hall and flooded the other rooms on the first floor too.
After it stopped raining Nikki and I rented some inner tubes and took the Tuk Tuk up stream to the 'Tubing Transition' point. It was party time. There are about six bamboo made bars about fifty meters apart along a murky fast flowing river. Each one has a rope swing or flying fox into the water with the first rope swing the biggest. After you're finished at each bar you tube down to the next one where a local fella drags you in with a small inner tube on a rope.
I really wanted to do the rope swing but was worried about my weak shoulder I dislocated on a small rope swing.a few days earlier and didn't want to repeat my chicken like performance at the rock jump at Phi Phi where it took me twenty minutes to jump. So I decided to do the biggest one straight away and tuck my arm in on entry. It was a huge rush and my new plan of don't think about it worked.
With each beer we bought we had a free shot of whisky so we didn't end up spending much and got hammered.
The first day we went tubing we couldn't quite work out why everyone was hanging around the first few bars so we left them pretty quickly and headed down river only to discover all the main bars were at the start and we'd actually missed the majority of the partying. The second time we new better and didn't even bother with the tubes. We simply walked or swam in between the bars and caught a taxi back at the end. That day was so much fun and we all took part in the flying foxes and mud fights they had at some of the bars. It was such a great day especially because Matt, Sian and Felicity who we had met on the bus to Pai had arrived and we spent the day in a big group with them. Nikki fell down a flight of stairs at one point when racing me between two bars (I did the rope swing and swam and she walked) and badly bruised and scraped her legs as well as spilling her free bucket which we got from painting one of the bartenders hair. Such a great fun day… (minus the injuries).
The town had a vibe similar to the islands in Thailand so there was a TV at every restaurant and almost all of them played friends episodes. Many of the bars and restaurants had low tables and triangular shaped cushions to lean on. Most of the time everyone lays down to watch the screen, even when ordering food, except for one night when we watched the epicly good movie Pulp Fiction. During the scene when Mrs Mia Wallace and Vincent Veger dance at the Jack Rabit Slims dance comp we got up in front of the big screen and did the twist only to have fifteen people follow us up for a boogie. It was an awesome moment.
It wasn't all tubing and partying in Vang Vieng though. One off the days we decided to hire some really crappy pushbikes and head out to the caves that surround the area. When riding there we met up with some people and one of the guys chains came off. We were near some little kids who were only to keen to help us. They got us the tools and Sammy fixed the bike. When finished the little kids asked for money so the guy who's bike it was paid them. Sammy did it out of good will and didn't get any money.
We arrived at the cave and explored around. It was very dark to navigate through with only two torches and five people. It was quite slippery and damp as well but still amazing to see a cave in its natural environment without all the tourists. There was also a nice blue river for swimming in, and another rope swing. This river also had a strong current so you couldn't just laze around in it.
All in all we had an absolute blast and it definitely would be one of our highlights of Lao.