Hungover, Chronic Diahorrea and a 7 hour bus ride

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Nam Song Garden Guest House

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, June 28, 2010

It was an early start as the bus to Vang Vieng was picking us up at our guesthouse at 7.30am. Andrew couldn't resist one last trip to Joma bakery for some of their delicious but overpriced pizza (Andrew Edit – not true so I’m taking over the blogging again). The minibus eventually arrived and it was roasting on board waiting to pick up other people. The driver was a little bit of a nut job and just ran round guest houses shouting and laughing before realising he was not supposed to be collecting anybody from that guesthouse, and then we would leave again. As an example of 'drivers' randomness at our guesthouse he jumped out of the bus took his shoes off climbed on the roof then as I was passing him my bag to put on the roof the bus started to roll down the hill, yes thats right folks he hadn’t put the handbrake on. I panicked and ran to the passenger door to try and lean over but found there to be no handbrake, in the process I kicked the drivers shoes into an open sewer (or at least a run off drain) that must have been about 1m deep and had to reach down to fish them out. A Russian guy managed to climb into the drivers seat and hit the breaks nearly throwing the driver off the roof. The drivers reaction was to start laughing hysterically.

Anyway typically of Laos transport we pulled into a bus station about 30 minutes after our departure time and all unloaded the bus we were on to get onto another virtually identical bus. Again the luggage up on the roof and off we went. The drive was beautiful and the landscapes lovely but not as luscious as Nam. As soon as we were out of Luang Prabang we started to see the level of poverty apparent in the countryside. Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world but to be honest in Luang Prabang you would never ever have realised. We were sad to leave Luang Prabang as the pace of life is so slow it is simply lovely.

Oh, obviously we forgot to mention just how we were feeling today. After about 4 hours sleep and a skinful of booze we had a serious hangover. I had vommed the night before and now had travellers diahorrea as well, in the drunken stuper packing in the morning we left the diacalm in the big bag (now on the roof). Somehow I managed to hold it in but at the rest stop I sprinted off in search of the loos. The loos were somewhat horrific and had no loo roll so as I spun on my heels (with my cat like reflexes) I slid on the urine and fecaes ridden floor and nearly got myself in a right mess. I found E asleep on the bus and got enough money to buy a toilet roll before running back off to another shop to buy a loo roll. Imagine the other passengers seeing this fat whippet running around before sprinting into the loo full toilet roll in hand (yes memories of Glastonbury everywhere).

We watched a man arrive on a motorbike, I’m not sure what his official occupation would be, farmer, butcher perhaps, however he had a couple of carcasses on the back of his bike a machete, an axe and a saw. The local women came running over and started feeling the carcass to decide which bits they wanted. We sawed, hacked and cut bits off as required before weighing them on his set of scales and passing them the chunks of meat which they carried off. The woman at the cafe nearest us picked up her pork, passed it to her daughter then went back to the cafe and made someone a baguette. I know this is just the way of life here but poor Emer has been laid up in Bangkok hospital for a week with Salmonella or E-coli she contracted in Cambodia. Oh well we just have to hope!! I’m sure Vic and other Environmental health peeps would have a field day. I guess if that is the way you are brought up though you can probably deal with this type of cross contamination. Anyway I’m rambling on about nothing again, this is probably only of interest to Vic.

We boarded the bus again and completed the final 2 – 3 hours of the journey (surprisingly with the Lady asleep) I watched a typically male masculine film 'Casablanca’ that somehow had appeared illegally on my i-plod.

We finally arrived in Vang Vieng, well in a bus station that was apparently 3km from town, and the whole bus tried to hire a tuk tuk / jumbo. The drivers were having none of it insisting the fee was 10k Kip per head regardless of if there is one person per jumbo or 12. Obviously like stupid westerners we all jumped in one and I was hanging off the back on the rail and we had one person on the roof. The lady of course commandeered the front seat no doubt trying to negotiate a price with driver to get her anywhere away from the fat guy on the back of the jumbo with chronic diahorrea.

When we arrived we saw the Belfast Boys from the other night who said they had found a guesthouse with views of the river for 35,000 Kip or about 2.80 the owner was nice and we were quite happy with our grubby room for the money. Most other places wanted at least double nearly triple this price and this was without a river view.

We went for a walk around town and were surprised by how quiet it was. For those who know nothing about Vang Vieng it is a notorious party town on the teenage backpacker route. About 4 bars have friends on a loop so it plays nothing else and people lie down on beds and just drink (my idea of hell on earth), some others however had family guy which was a little more palatable (although my I-pod also has some of these on – I can’t remember where I bought that from!). Other places are known to have 'special menus where traditional dishes are cooked with a few added ingredients (you will understand more tomorrow I guess)

Well we had dinner and then the ‘bucket bars’ started to open at about 6:00pm and the music was booming across the valley. (Note the word ‘Bar’ is a more of a Glastonbury Bar than a Manchester City Centre Bar, i.e. it is large patches of grass with hammocks and bonfires rather than an enclosed space. After several nights of heavy drinking we decided to retire early and Erica even had a fruit shake instead of a swig, the fruit shake was almost twice as expensive and was full of ice (Mum she is drinking Ice again!!).

The nights sleep was light to say the least, two gecko’s crawled out of their hiding holes and started to call to each other across the room, although the sound was somewhat drowned out by the noise of happy hardcore, and other more modern dance beats. We were warned by the owner that at about 4am the local burgulars come out and try and get into your room so make sure you are properly locked in (I think this is because a lot of people after ‘buy 1 bucket get 1 free’ end up sleeping with their doors open and are unconscious. We also heard the owner telling us about "red eye" which about 50% of people are getting this year. No one knows what is causing it, but one guy who didn’t get it treated went back to the UK and ended up blind. Anyway we were off to see what all the commotion of tubing was about, to see just how insane it could be. Erica was cacking her pants (which made a nice change as I had been all day).
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Vic on

Just catching up on all the poo it!

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