Published: April 3rd 2012April 3rd 2012
We were up early for, yep you guessed it another long bus journey!! Off to Laos’ capital City Vientiane! We made sure we got to the bus station nice and early, no idea why we did this we really should know by now that buses in Laos don’t leave on time! We managed not to get conned into buying a ticket for a “V.I.P” bus. A V.I.P bus means nothing – same kind of bus as non-VIP but it’s more expensive. Anyway we spent the first hour rolling and stopping to let more people on, rolling and stopping to put food on, rolling and stopping to put animals on…you get the picture (don’t worry V.I.P bus was doing the same thing right behind us!)
In Vientiane we hadn’t booked again so we needed to walk around in the heat and look for somewhere. We walked around the “capital” with our backpacks. This has to be the quietest capital city in the world – certainly it was the quietest we had seen so far in Asia. Where were all the crazy motorbikes and mental drivers?! We finally found a place which had a TV in the room, luxury
for Christmas, hoping for some Christmas movies. Also there were loads of decorations in the lobby which made things feel a bit more festive. We’d both found that we were missing home a bit as we were missing the build up to Christmas which we both enjoy.
Christmas Eve! After wandering around the bustling capital and visiting the indoor market trying to find a camera (ours was on its way out!) The sellers in the market did not do haggling and their prices were way too high, especially as all the cameras were clearly second hand (?stolen?) So we opted to go to internet café and get one sent home so lovely Helen Miller could bring it to us! Whilst we were in the internet café we heard two familiar voices and one familiar face, and one not so familiar face. Bella and Dan had sauntered in. Dan sporting a full on ginger beard! So we made plans to meet up for some Christmas Eve drinks and try to find some life in the dead city! We got changed had more yummy BBQ food and then nought ourselves some Santa hats! Then we were joined by
the guys and headed out, now we were armed with Santa hats and loud blowers that Dan had bought we were determined to wake the city up! We bumped into Tanya on the street and she joined us on our quest! Eventually we found an outside bar with a weird balcony thing up some stairs. Whilst we were sitting there blowing our horns we saw some girls wearing Santa hats. They came up and joined us, one was from Hong Kong and one from China and they were incredibly friendly. So we had another beer and then after failing to persuade the bar owner that it was Happy hour we headed out to find another bar. We eventually found a bar with a friendly Welsh owner and ordered a tower of beer and as we realised we were next to the laptop with the music Dan put on some Christmas tunes!! Perfect now it felt like Christmas! Great night!
Good news, the TV gamble paid off and Miracle on 34th
street was on! Bad news today we were both feeling a bit worse for wear! We got snacks and watched TV, just like being
at home, but without the yummy roast dinner and no board games! Had Greek food for dinner in the end. Did the whole Skype and phone call thing and made plans with Dan and Bella to go bowling the next day!
Today we went bowling!! It was possibly the oldest most run down bowling alley we’d ever seen – certainly no Tenpin! There was no one else there, except the family who seemed to be running it. I won the second game with a Turkey at the end!! By the end all the staff and family were watching us - clearly people don’t come here to bowl very often. We did manage to find some locals next door in the snooker and pool room. After we exhausted our skills we headed off and went to a French man’s restaurant and had some AWESOME Steak, only 3pounds and we got mash veg and yummy sauce! Happy days!
We had a pain free bus ride to Vang Vieng along a fairly smooth ride, comfy minibus and Dan and Bella for company. We arrived with nowhere booked again so we stalked
Dan and Bella and stayed where they were. We all went out for lunch, it was hard to choose where there were A LOT of restaurants which were all the same, same food, same prices, same cushions to sit on, same little tables to eat off, same programmes on T.V. (they were all showing Friends or Family Guy!). We then checked out the beautiful/tacky village – beautiful mountains and river and tacky bars. We bought our essentials – Beer Lao T-shirts/vests, plastic water tight wallets and swimming shorts ready for the infamous Tubing experience we would be having the next day! Then we headed over a rickety bridge to a nice hotel/resort and spent the next 3 hours using the volleyball net. After lots of gaming and Michael and Dan proving who was the manliest by having a singles match (Michael won) we headed off. For dinner we had huge amounts of BBQ food whilst watching drunken madness from the people coming back from Tubing. In the evening we went to watch the arsenal match whilst Bella went to check e-mails. She had bad news Dan’s Facebook account had been hacked and the hackers had put a message up saying
they were in trouble and needed money to help. Understandably Bella’s mum and a few others were out of their mind with worry trying to contact them and sort it out. The hackers had even had the cheek to have an instant message conversation with Bella’s mum posing as Bella giving bank account details etc. Luckily Bella’s mum insisted that she speak to her before she transferred anything. Not nice and put a dampener on our moods, and to add to this Arsenal lost so Michael and Dan (also supports Arsenal) were extra glum.
Up and buzzing! We met Dan and Bella paid for our tubes, signed a contract saying we will be back at 6pm, take full responsibility for it it’s not their fault if we die etc. etc., we were assigned a number 100 &101. Our tubes were thrown onto a tuk-tuk and off we headed to the top of the river. On the way we had a douche in our tuk-tuk bragging about how many Valium tablets he had taken in Asia and how many he could handle, to which Bella asked “but why would you do, at
world's biggest gingerbread man
Would have been great for the Christmas day hangover!!
what point did it seem like a good idea?!!” We arrived at the first bar and took our free Lao Lao whiskey shot then got us some lovely Mojitos (with money going to a charity run in the area – legit, honest!) Walked to the next bar, played table football, chilled out on the tables in the river, danced, played Beer Pong (Michael didn’t try because he wanted to drink the beer!) Then it was time to float over to the next bar. Michael got in with ease as did Dan. I and Bella were a little less graceful; I would like to point out that it was made a lot harder for me by Michael doing his best to get me in the water by pushing me as I was trying to get in! To get into the next bar was easy, wait for the guys with ropes to lasso you in! More free Lao Lao shots! People here were clearly a bit drunker than the ones at the bar before. It looked like what you would expect from an American frat party, with people being held upside down whilst drinking through straws out of buckets, but it was
good fun so we decided to join in with the dancing (not with the buckets!) There was a flying fox zip line into the river at this bar, and we had heard about before we came. I’d said before that I wasn’t going to do it, but it took very little peer pressure from Bella to persuade me and we did a tandem one! It was awesome fun, bloody scary and we both screamed our lungs out on the way down! Dan managed to persuade Michael and so he had a go, less screaming from him! He scrapped his hand on the rocks as he was getting out though! It was now about 4pm and we had to get our tubes back by 6pm to get our deposit back. Michael looked over to where we‘d left our tubes and there was only 2 there and they were both completely flat….oh dear. We decided we better get to the next bar and see if we could find some tubes there. We swam down the river dodging the people zip lining and people on tubes. Luckily there were loads at this bar so we bought ourselves a beer for the road (or
river in this case) and jumped on our tubes to go down stream. The next part was hard, hard work. We had to get down stream on our tubes. The river was not really flowing that fast so you had to use your flip flops as paddles. We also had to watch our bums on all the rocks as the river was pretty shallow in places. Bella was screaming most of the way down! At one point she decided it would be easier to walk on the river bank and carry her tube. It was not as she soon found out after she had fallen out of her tube onto the side! Anyway, despite the traumas we did get to see some beautiful scenery as we floated down and it really was amazing just chilling on your tube sipping a beer Lao and looking up at the mountains around. After about an hour we reached a place where there was a tuk-tuk driver. He told us he would get us back for the 6 pm deadline (it was now 5.45) so we jumped on with him and a few others including a guy from Northampton who had gone to NSB
You’ll be pleased to know we made it back in time and got our deposits back! After a shower we headed out for some food and chilled out with the people we had shared the tuk-tuk with and Tanja joined us as she had arrived in Vang Vieng!
Chilled out day recovering from Tubing. Dan and Bella headed off for more tubing but we had heard the long bus ride we had the next day was supposed to be pretty rough so we didn’t fancy a hangover for that! We had a stroll around, sat on the river bank and chilled out with some goats and cows enjoying the beautiful scenery. Really is a beautiful place! Met a rather jolly Dan and Bella for dinner and bumped into Tanja who joined us again for food and Family Guy!
There are more photos below