10.07.2008 - 19.07.2008
Well, its been a while since our last blog and I'd like to say we've done all kinds of magical things, but we've been acting like college kids. The Waterfalls in Laung Prabang were just beautiful, several long sections of places to swim and jump off the various chasms of spilling water. At the upper area, the falls must have been at least 50ft high. You could see a whole lot from the top, including a few monks taking the day off and having some fun playing in the water....I always wondered what was under those robes, and now I know.......more robes....
For dinner that night we headed to a Korean style BBQ. The setup is pretty cool, you have your typical coals under what looks like a sailers hat made of metal. An inverted bowl with vents in the middle and trough on the outside to hold broth and veggies. You start out smothering the top with a couple of pieces of fatty bacon(ummmmm, bacon, mmmmmm), then with the vents all greased up you can start roasting pieces of chicken, beef, and pork. After the veggies are done you just place the broth, along with some spices and meat in the bowl and chow down....freakin good.
Trish & Peter, Christina & Joe, Me & Toni, Rob & Loraine all having a good time at the Korean BBQ!!
The next day we crossed the Me Kong and took a walk in a little village that hardly looked touched by tourism compared with Laung Prabang. It felt so nice to get out of town and walk around a bit without having to deal with touts and traffic. The Lao countryside is so green and clean....its definitely our kind of country. The one thing we've really remarked about during our stay in Laos, is the children, they all seem so happy and are alway smiling and playing simple games, or just running around. That night was a good night for more shopping, and you can't get away from those markets without some kind of deal. We ended up with a little wooden turtle that flips open to become(kind of a transformer if you ask me) a compass.....yea, I know...let down, but still neat looking.
We then made the uneventful transition to Vang Vieng, better known as the tubing capital of Laos. Vang Vieng happens to be very affordable so we ended up staying for 5 days with a nice little hotel room looking over the local river and some islands. The main intersection in the town hosts a few resturants that have tables you can lay down at and watch Friends, kind of nice when you've been away from home as long as we have but I had to wonder what other people thought of these places. One place had The Family Guy playing all day, and we had breakfast there a few times.
Rob & Loraine, an Irish couple we meet on our travels, met up with us to go tubing. What a blast, the stretch of the river that we floated was only 3 km long, but its riddled with bars serving cheap beer and really high swings. The employees of these places are gifted with a knack for catching patrons with a bamboo pole and rope. You have to remember this is the rainy season and the river is swelled and moving twice as fast as normal. So as you're screaming by on the river, in order to get business these guys have to hook you in and drag you back to their little bar. Needless to say, as the day goes on and the beer flows these little stops get much more difficult. On one such stop, the bar had a volleyball pit....turned into a mud pit after the rain. That didn't stop people from trying, lost track of the ball and pretty soon patrons were just sliding around and throwing mud like fools....super fun!!!
Toni posing by the only blue water we've seen for months.
Heavy rain started in the next day so we were forced to lay low at the Family Guy resturant. We switched it up about midday to the Friends resturant, and then ended the day going out with our travelling friends Rob and Loraine. The rains kept going for another day and the river started to seriously flood. I'd say it went up about 6 feet in the couple days (we were happy to be staying on the 4th floor of the hotel). We heard from the hotel people that it hadn't flooded this bad in four years.....watching the debris in the river go by was sort of entertaining and sad at the same time....we saw a few bamboo houses in there. The rain wasn't letting up so we got the hell out of there and headed to Vientiane, the capital of Lao.
When we arrived in Vientiane the rains drilled us again, but this time we hadn't even found a hotel yet. So I hunkered down with the bags, while Toni ran around and tried to find a hotel with an open room. We had no idea it would be so hard...I guess with the heavy rains and roads to the north being closed, many of the hotels were sold out (who would have thought this.....its suppose to be slow season here). Thank god we found one before the really heavy rain started. Our Irish friends, Rob and Loraine weren't as lucky, we found Rob, soaked, still looking for a place......which after about 30 minutes he eventually did. After a good rest we started the day with big plans, hitting the shooting range (the Irish couple had never shot a gun before, Toni either), and then some meditation with the monks. The shooting range was pretty fun, and we found out the Irish can shoot pretty damn well. On our high from letting our gats hum, we decided to have a midday beer, hey, the sun was almost out and we had nothing better to do. After a beer, the meditation got pushed to the side because Rob and Loraine were heading their own way for awhile and this was our last night to hang out....until Southern Thailand. So we had dinner and talked and had a good ol' time.
The Irish/American retarded version of Charlies Angels
Tonight we are taking a sleeper bus somewhere (13 hours south of Vientiene), so until next time we hope everyone is taking care and enjoying our blog!!!