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Published: February 15th 2009
Friday, February 13th, 2009
In the morning we booked tickets on a mini-van to Vang Vieng for the following day. We walked around town and saw a few sights. We also walked across a bamboo footbridge (where we had to pay a toll) en-route to a nearby village. We got bored before we got there so we headed back into town.
After lunch we headed to the Tat Kuang Si waterfalls and Bear Rescue Center 32km south of town. All the bears at this sanctuary have been rescued from poachers. In Asia the bears are caught and placed in tiny cages (barely big enough to for the bear to be in) and the bile from their gallbladders are painfully extracted and used in Chinese medicines.
We bought some t-shirts to support these lovely bears.
The Tat Kuang Si is a series of waterfalls cascading into the most gorgeous and surreal turquoise pools. When we reached the big waterfall at the top we decided to scramble up the steep and very slippery path to the top of the falls. When we finally reached the top there was nothing to see, only a pool and
some wooden railings. We headed back down for a well deserved swim in one of those gorgeous pools. The water was freezing but just what we needed to cool us down.
Back in our room we typed all this up on our new laptop and prepared everything for blogging after dinner. However, when we tried to blog our laptop just wouldn't work. It would start up but after about a minute would turn itself off. Very annoying and disappointing!
1. Supporting the Asiatic Black Bears
2. Visiting the gorgeous Tat Kuang Si waterfalls Saturday, February 14th, 2009
This morning we were transported to the taxi depot by tuk-tuk. There we got on a mini-bus for Vang Vieng, five hourrs (they claimed) south of Luang Prabang. The road climbed high into the mountains and our dilapidated mini-van sometimes managed a mere 10km/h. Even the trucks were faster and more nimble up the winding mountain passes. When our driver had to pass even slower traffic he would do so on blind corners and one time we were almost run off the road by a passing mini-van. Traveling in Laos sure is fun!
During the drive we
discussed the laptop lesson. What was God trying to teach us? We had noticed that everywhere we go every tourist is always listening to their iPod, effectively isolating themselves from everyone and everything around them. Couples would be next to each other but miles apart, completely unengaged. Was our laptop doing the same to us? Had we bought something, although very useful, that was going to get between us, disengage us and steal our precious time together?
We couldn't get lunch cause we had no cash. We weren't able to get to the ATM before we had left Luang Prabang. After six hours we ended up 2km from Vang Vieng at the "depot". Why 2km from town? Well, so that you are forced to pay the tuk-tuk drivers to take you to town of course! It's all a big scam. We were dropped off at the ATM and Ferdi had to go buy some Lays to get change to pay the driver.
Vang Vieng is, at first glance, a dodgy place. It's all dusty and dilapidated. We had no map for the town so we asked the driver which way the bamboo bridge was (not realizing that there
was more than one). We started walking in a direction he indicated, but soon realized that wasn't the way we wanted to go, so we headed in the opposite direction and found a place close to the river. We went out for a beautiful sunset valentines dinner, then went looking for a massage parlor. It was too creepy to go there at night so we walked around town instead.
As we passed some garbage we heard a kitten mewling. At Ferdi's encouragement we left, but Talita had to go back and find out what was going on. Upon investigating we found a kitten abandoned in a box. He was only a couple of days old and we couldn't just let him die, so we picked him up and bought him some milk. He wouldn't eat so Ferdi went in search of a syringe to see if we could feed him that way. While Ferdi was gone Talita gave him a bath. Ferdi got a syringe after looking a bit like a junky on the hunt for needles. How do you explain to a pharmacist who doesn't speak English that you need a syringe? Anyway... Our new baby wouldn't eat
until we warmed some milk inside the syringe with warm water in the basin. We named him Vlooi on account of the fleas he has. Ferdi went out to get Vlooi a box to sleep in cause we were afraid of laying on him in our sleep.
Oh, there's heartache on the horizon...
1. Making it to Vang Vieng alive
2. Sunset valentines dinner
3. Finding Vlooi
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