Where's Dan in Vang Vieang

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Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng
January 17th 2010
Published: January 31st 2010
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 Video Playlist:

1: slide 9 secs
2: Dredded flying fox 10 secs
3: Top of flying fox 15 secs
4: Getting to first bar 19 secs
5: Jacinta Jumping 43 secs
I woke up late feeling very dry and seedy, we didn’t emerge from our hotel until 11:00 and had breakfast at 12:00. We started to go for a walk around the town to get an idea of what’s around. It’s such a quieter town than what we are used to so far and with massive limestone mountains in the background it makes for a stunning view. It was clear right from the start that Lao was a special place and we immediately fell in love with it.
We headed down to the river to have a look and bumped into the gang, within a split second we were getting board shorts and swimmers on to go tubing on the river. The cost of hiring the tubes are outrageous and with only one business with tubes they set the price and are literally making a fortune. The hire cost is 55000kip plus another 55000kip for a deposit on the tube. When you take into consideration that you can stay one night in a nice hotel for that sort of money you will realise how over inflated the price is. There was a sign explaining the reasoning behind the cost of the tube and that 1500 families have shares in the company because they are poor. The cost was also to go towards so called safety on the river, anyone that has been tubing would laugh at this part.
We would meet the others at the first bar on the river as I had to rush back to the hotel to get more money and by the time we sorted ourselves we were floating down the river by 1:30. As soon as we arrived you could hear the DOOF DOOF music downstream and within 200m of floating down river we were being thrown a tow line from the bar to drag you in for a drink. There is no way you could be prepared for the atmosphere of this place, it is crazy! There are massive flying foxes and swings perched high up on rickety timber frames that sway when you are on top. They look high from the big timber platforms that everyone is dancing on but what you don’t take into consideration is the decks are 2 meters off the water and when you add that to the other 5-6m of the deck it is very high when standing up and looking down. I can understand how people get injured in a place like this especially when you mix allot of alcoholic buckets into the equation. Within seconds of being pulled in my “Wheres Dan ” HAT had got recognised and the whole gang came to greet us with hugs and kisses saying “WHERE’S DAN”. We felt so close to each other that by now we felt like family. So far we have been dubbed the COOLEST MARRIED COUPLE EVER and have also given inspiration to allot of the younger crowd to be like us when they are older. They all can’t believe that Jacinta and I have been together for 16years and still going strong and they all hopped to marry a best friend to travel with.
With no time to waist Jacinta had bought a bucket (alcoholic drinks served in a one litre bucket) to share between us. I decided to go off the flying fox before I was too waisted to climb or lose my balance on the platform. I watched some others do it first and took note to let go of the before it reached the stopper at the other end as it will either rips your arms from their sockets or you get flicked in the air spinning uncontrolled until you come crashing down in the river below.
Jacinta had a go after me and shit herself when she climbed up, but with words of encouragement from me she took off down the zip line and plunged into the river. She came up with a massive smile on her face to confirm she was alright. No sooner did she get back on the bar deck she wanted to jump off the 7-8meter high platform. I got the whole gang to watch and as soon as she got close to the top the look on her face made me realise that she had bitten off more than she could chew. With our gang giving words of encouragement and then turning into cheering she stalled and thought about jumping from the top for 5min or so. By this time the crowd had caught on and joined in the cheering and started to yell “jump jump jump” she could not turn around now because everyone at the bar was cheering her. After much built up tension the crowd scream and cheered and she took the leap of faith off the tower into the river below. I couldn’t believe she jumped and I was so proud I stood on the table and yelled “That was my wife!” She had people congratulating her everywhere and I gave her a big hug. She later told me she wanted to get down but the crowd expected her to jump and she didn’t want to be a chicken.
With a marking pen getting around it was time to promote my “wheres Dan” blog they wrote the website and “WHERE’S DAN” in big letter on my back. Fabien also got on top of the flying fox platform to get the first official photos of “where’s Dan” in the crowd.
The drinking continued and we carried on down the river 50m before stopping at another bar to go off the big swing. I decided to be daring and hang from my legs off the swing, great fun. We then headed another 100m down the river and all decided to play a game of mud volleyball. It was probably the hardest thing to do because there were big slippery pot hots under the muddy water and it was impossible to walk to steps without slipping into the mud, laughing made it even worse. Before long you were slipping on top of each other and felt totally helpless trying to get up. It was getting close to 6:00 and you must return you tube before then otherwise you lose your deposit. With one last bar to stop at they had a big massive slippery slide that has a jump at the end, I would have had a go but you had to buy a drink to get entry and both myself and Jacinta were in no condition to drink anymore. We returned our tube and headed back to the hotel for a shower to wash the mud out of my cloths. We met up with everyone again at the same restaurant to all reflect on our day. We had a few drinks and retired to bed at 9:30 because we were stuffed.

Additional photos below
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Giving them the right to rip you off for your tube hire

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