Day 20-21: Vang Vieng, Laos

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February 15th 2009
Published: February 18th 2009
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Sunday, February 15th, 2009
We slept okay and woke early to see if Vlooi had survived the night. He only squeaked twice during the night and we expected to be up to feed him every hour.
We were very relieved when we saw that he was fine and fast asleep. We put him in bed with us and later took turns to lie with him while the other got ready for the day, because the moment we left him alone he would cry terribly. He's rather strong for such a little guy and always on the hunt for food. But if you lay with him for a while he would curl up by your neck and fall asleep. So cute!

We were very stressed because we didn't know what to do with him. We just prayed a lot and asked God to lead our steps and to make it turn out right.

We went to an Internet cafe to see if there were any animal shelters in the area but to our disappointment there was no SPCA or shelters anywhere. We decided to hire a scooter and drive out to the Organic Farm with Vlooi to see if we could stay there for a week or two and volunteer while we took care of him. We were hoping that they would take care of him after we left.

As we were leaving our guest house the guy at reception saw Vlooi and said he knew where his mom was. It felt so great! We were afraid to get too excited. We went to the island he indicated and asked some ladies there if they knew the mom. They indicated that they did and one of the ladies walked around making mewing sounds. A young ginger cat came walking over and we slowly approached her. The moment Talita put little Vlooi down his mom was there licking and smelling him. Soon she picked him up and walked off and both of us had tears in our eyes. It was such a beautiful moment and the absolute highlight of our trip so far! This was the best ending to little Vlooi's story we could have imagined! We were sooo grateful!

It felt like a huge burden had been lifted from our shoulders. We were emotionally exhausted but our Father came through for us once again! It's great to see how prayer and faith work every time! We went to chill out and celebrate with some fruit shakes.

Later in the afternoon we rented some bicycles and rode 5km out of town to the Organic Farm to see about volunteering. When we got there the rave music from the bar down river was so loud it drove us nuts in the 15mins that we were there. Neither of us had a warm feeling about the place, even though they do great community work. We decided to keep looking.

Vang Vieng has a charm to it, but it wears thin quickly. It's too much like Margate during December. They have these restaurants that show American comedy shows non-stop. They have a couple of Friends restaurants, a Simpsons restaurant, a Family Guy restaurant etc. They are always filled with people wanting a taste of home. We're not missing TV at all!

Today's highlights:
1. Had a fairly uninterrupted night
2. Found Vlooi's mommy! Glorious reunion!
3. Our 1st bicycle ride of the trip

Monday, February 16th, 2009
In the morning we hiked a few kilometers out of town to some nearby caves. We were looking for a specific cave with a lake inside that we could swim in. We had to cross the fabled bamboo bridge. It's not made of bamboo at all! Well, that's Laos for you!

There was very little directions so we just kinda followed our noses. It was great to get some peace and quiet out in nature! We also realized that we'd left our headlamps at the guest house! Silly us!

We reached the first set of caves and they supplied us with LED flashlights. We headed in but the cave was very shallow so we went to the next one. Nothing to see there either so we headed up a footpath that led into the jungle and up the mountain. After an hour of climbing and with no end in sight we turned around and went back down.

We walked to the next set of caves and here we could actually go into the caves. We saw some pretty formations but soon, discovered that the caves were also home to some pretty big spiders. We crawled through a few holes but soon got creeped out by the spiders. We left rather quickly. That was it for our caving in Laos. We never found the cave with the lake but didn't care!

We went back to town to go for tubing in the Nam Song river. A tuk-tuk took us about 3km out of town and dropped us at the rave bar close to the Organic Farm. The place was filled with young people partying and swimming in the river. There were swings and ziplines and lots of alcohol and chaos. We cruised down the river observing the crazy antics of the intoxicated youths. Talita called us "Oupa and Ouma".
About 10 bars linie the riverbank, and every one you pass they try to get you to come in and drink. One place offered us a free shot and some Magic Mushrooms and Weed Brownies! We hadn't realized how huge the drug culture is here (although, in retrospect, there was four Japanese guys getting high behind us at dinner last night).

It took about two and a half hours to get back to our guest house. As we drifted past Vlooi's island we missed the little guy a lot! We knew, though, that he was happier with his cat-family.

When we went out for dinner we were given a tin bucket with what looked like a menu. It took Ferdi a while to figure out that it was indeed a menu, a drug menu. They offered opium, mushrooms and about 6 other drugs. We finished our shakes and went looking for a better place to spend our last night in Vang Vieng. This is not our scene.

Today's highlights:
1. Hiking to the caves and finding some peace and quiet in the hills
2. Tubing the Nam Song river

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 26


The "bamboo bridge"The "bamboo bridge"
The "bamboo bridge"

what bamboo???
Hiking to the cavesHiking to the caves
Hiking to the caves

Now that's a bamboo bridge!
In the cavesIn the caves
In the caves

the good times

19th February 2009

Hey julle 2-kies! Julle begin lekker maer word! Ferdi de Lange voer my maatjie!! Of miskien is dit net omdat ek deur n hele dag is sonder dat ek 1 keer die woord bier gelees het! lol!! P.S...I need the Vlooi back!!!
23rd February 2009

Hi there, i work with your mom and she shares your blog with us here at OST. The story of Vlooi touched my heart very deeply... the fact that we serve and Awesome God and He comes through for us every time... Hope you guys continue to meet with Him while you journey..stay Blessed!!! Zenda

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