Anyway, the ride itself was fun but it definitely wasn't a leisurely little float down the river our guide had us working pretty hard the whole way. The big highlight of the day was stopping and paddling through a pretty strong rapid, I don't think it was especially dangerous, but there was definitely a possibility that we would get flipped over. Our guide made sure we were aware of this by showing us multiple clips of people getting tossed on his digital camera, not the best way to instill confidence, but hey we all made it through without a scratch
. After that we paddled down to a rock jump that was about twenty five feet. It is funny the difference between what twenty five feet looks like from below and what twenty five feet looks like from above (it looks more like fifty feet). ANyway after some good natured peer pressure from our guide " Come on, you are AMericans, do it for Bush" and when that didn't work "DO it for CLinton" better, but that still didn't work, then he was on to the less good natured "DO it you bunch of lady boys" which didn't work either, I think it was the fact that walking back down to the water would have been too much of a blow to our male pride that finally got us to jump off, and the fact that our guide was starting to leave! At any rate we jumped, and it wasn't so bad. Right around the time that we started kayaking again it started pouring rain. Then the thunder and lightening started. Maybe it's just me but being in the middle of a wide river during a lightening storm probably isn't the best place to be, but our guide was ahead of us and not stopping so there weren't too many other options (I tried to keep my head lower than everyone elses, so if there was lightning striking the river it would knock out somebody else, hey it's gotta be every man for himself at somepoint;). But, again we ere fine and made it back without getting scorched.
When I got to Vientiane I met up with the girls who I had spent the Lao new years with (hm, I need to write about that at some point, the festival was definitely a trip high light). And am now going to catch a bus a little further north in Laos for what will be the final leg of my trip.
So after a much needed day of doing nothing in Vang Vien, I woke up bright and early to head back down to Vientiane via kayak. Well maybe thats a little bit of an exaggeration, a bus drove a group of four of us (two Americans, one British, one Irish), an hour and a half to a drop off point where we kayaked for five hours or so, then a tuk tuk dropped us off at the local bus stop where we caught a ride the final hour down to Vientiane. SO in reality we may have paddled maybe 30 or 40 kilometers or so.