The last week we’ve spent in Vang Vieng, Liverpool won last Saturday- it got to extra time and then penalties, mister Al could hardly contain himself but was a big bubble of joy when they won!!! We ended up having a lock in (well the tarpaulin over the front of the bar was pulled down) as there’s a curfew in Laos of 11pm!!!!
The next day (after a little lie in following the excitement of the previous night) we had our first day tubing. I’m not sure what I imagined tubing was going to be like but, although it didn’t disappoint me, it didn’t fully wow me either. Basically tubing is where you rent an inner tube of a big tyre blown up and then get a tuck tuck 4km away to a point on the river. There are bars along the river-side that jut out into the river with water slides, rope swings ad platforms to jump off, the idea is you sit in your ring (tube) and float from bar to bar along the river and end at the end of the river back where the guesthouses are. However, most people now don’t make it past the 3rd bar and most don’t even tube but walk along the river edge! It also seemed to be the place where people could dress and be as weird as they wanted- there was one guy there who had grown his hair, bleached it blonde, wore a purple headband and a long leopard print skirt everyday we went tubing!! And he was one of the people working in one of the bars!!! Another guy was wearing tiny Speedos with a denim jacket!!! I mean I’m no fashion expert but Speedos and a denim jacket??? Really???
Anyway in total we went tubing 3 times. The first day we had a few drinks and made it about half way down the river. The water is freezing by the way and once the sun goes down it gets very chilly!! Our friends Laura and Harry did tubing before they met us in Cambodia and they told us they did the whole river one day sharing a tube so mister Alex and I thought we’d share too. Well guys a lot of respect to you both for doing that!! We were all over the place, could not get balanced and while everyone else was floating along calmly, hardly wet, we were both soaked and shouting at each other to “lean back…. Lean forwards!!!” It also got pretty shallow at points and with Mister Al being first in the tube his back end was dragged and bumped along the river-bed (horribly much to my amusement!!!) There’s no health and safety at all, we’d known before that it can be quite dangerous if people get too drunk and daring but I hadn’t realised how easy it would be to get injured there if you weren’t sensible, there’s really shallow parts with rocks jutting out and no barriers along the sides of the bars so people need to make sure they jump into the river at the deepest parts.
The second day we drank a little but more and swam to and from the bars, we had a really good day and did a couple of the rope swings. However the next day I had a little repeat of the illness I had in Cambodia (not sure what I had eaten to disagree with me so much again), so we had a chilling day that turned into setting ourselves the task of making a video of our travels so far- It’s on you tube titled 2 Alex’s Abroad so take a look!
Thursday morning I was still a bit delicate but by the afternoon was up for going kayaking down the river!! When we booked it we didn’t realise we were going 10km down it!! It was fun though, and as we we’re both in the same kayak and Mister Alex has been dying for a shoulder workout I thought I’d let him build up a sweat and get his muscles going while I sat back and took in the view!!! It was stunning, behind the river there are massive mountains covered in greenery and as the sun began to set behind them the view was breathtaking. Twice we went past 2 groups of water buffalo just chilling up to their necks in the water. It was really peaceful until we got 6km down and reached the tubing bars!! We ended kayaking where the tubing ends back in the town and doing it in the kayak made us decide against doing the whole river in the tube the next day- everyone in the tubes were going so slow and the last half there’s no bars or anywhere to stop. We’re happy enough saying we kayaked it!!
Yesterday we hadn’t learnt our lesson from our first day and again shared a tube, much to everyone else in the bars amusement watching us trying to float past without falling in! We used a couple of the slides and rope swings and made It back into the town for 6pm for the first time which meant we got our deposit back!!!
One thing we will miss from Vang Vieng is all the restaurants with cushions on the floor showing episode after episode of friends! We loved watching a couple of episodes with every meal! One thing we wont miss is the dust! The place is filthy, it wasn’t until today I realised that all the leaves on the trees and bushes I thought were brown and dead were actually green they were just so covered in dust.
We’ve come back to Vientiane today (we wanted to go to the old capital Luang Prabang, but after we are heading to Chang Mai in Thailand and to get there from Luang Prabang is a 2 day journey by a slow boat!) So we’ve opted to travel to Vientiane today and then its an 18 hour overnight bus to Chang Mai tomorrow, It doesn’t sound much fun on the bus but we’re really looking forward to getting to Chang Mai there’s lots we want to do there.
Lots of love to everyone at home xxxxxx