Getting Lost is Not a Waste of Time ~ Jack Johnson

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2010

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vang vieng eco lodge

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Friday, February 5, 2010

Having unplanned days for some might bring on feelings of needing such plans, but when traveling for longer times , these days happen more often, for your days become your own, and today was one of those days.
I am now in Vang Vieng, a town somewhat known for its days spent tubing down the river while visiting many river bars that are set up along the route with ropes thrown out to pull you in a entice you to have a " bucket" or two and it attracts the younger crowd to say the least, and as much as my daughter Sarah would of thought I was entirely " Cool" for joining in this rite of passage thru this part of Laos( or she would of been throughly embarrassed that I would join in :)
I decided for a Bike ride instead into the countryside , over the bridge to the other side of the river towards these amazing Limestone cliffs and caves.
The days here have been hot, I will not let myself once says those words...since I am so happy and grateful to be here in this nice , hot weather than back at home in Chicago where my friends are cold..( sorry about that! :( I started out late morning, and paid my toll of 6000 Kip to pass over a local bridge, made of wood, that I decided to walk my bike over..yes, the Lao bridge guard did laugh a bit.
The roads were basically all rock, and big rocks at that, and even though I rented a mountain bike, it was tough riding, but I was determined to find a couple caves on my journey. It seems everyone in the world likes to stretch the truth on time,,,only 10 more minutes! We stop the bus for toilet in 5 minutes!! Ahhh, I have just learned that its probably about double that.
So, I see a turn off for the Buddha cave, and besides all the rocks, the ride is I ride I am surrounded with many butterflies, flying all around me, I feel like I'm in a dream. Then I get lost. I know that turning back will not get me to that cave, so after a few " 10 more minutes" from a few locals, I carry on.
I am close when a few men stop me that seem to work for the "Cave Department" to collect some Kip for my entrance ( I just made that up, I don't know if there is a Cave Department!) But I pay my Kip, and am told that I need to walk the rest of the way, and would I like to hire a guide?
I decline, feeling that how hard can finding a cave be? After about 15 more minutes, one of the Guides comes up beside me and said hes just walking that way as well. ( this is a very smart man)
He knows that I , have nooo idea what I'm getting myself into, seeing me with no flashlight, and my sandals and sun dress on. We reach the cave, and I soon realize I'm a little over my head , so for 10000 Kip ( a little over a $1) I hire this guide to take me in the cave to see the Buddha.
Now climbing up Mt. Sinai in sandals,,,not so brilliant,,,caving in sandals...Really not so brilliant. But I came a long way, and I was going in.
My guide was small, and he had no problem crawling thru the tiny openings, me, well, there was no one else there besides us, and he didn't laugh at me! Her cave me one of the flashlights to put around my head, and let the way.
The Buddha was did they get it in there? His English was limited, so I may never know.
Not wanting to spend any more time with Ross, Rachel, Joey, Monica and Phoebe in the town of Vang Vieng ( they play endless re-runs of friends in all the bars and restaurants..Why? I really don't know, maybe after a day of endless tubing, some minds are spent?)
I decided to stay my last night out of town at a place called Vang Vieng Eco Lodge. It was about 15 minutes out of town, and a world away. Perched up on a hill , overlooking the river, I felt like I was staying in a cabin in the Swiss Alps. All for $20 a night..includes breakfast!
 I met the nicest girl from Austria who came and hung out with me for the day in my little paradise, we floated in some tubes in the swimming hole out in front of my place and pretended to be younger than we were, it was a great day.
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iris on

I see you survived the busride on the windy road from Luang Prabang to Vieng Vang. It's all worth it when you get to this beautiful place with its lime stone mountains. I am glad to see that you are having such a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear from your next destination.

Peggy Marciniak - ORDSW on

Elizabeth, you REALLY are an adventurer. I'd like to take a trip with you one of these days.....your photos of this place are excellent. I've been to many of those off-the-beaten track places (but not this one). I don't know if I would've gone in that cave, though. I don't think I'd fit! You've got a lot of guts, girl. I'll bet your daughter brags about you to all of her friends. What a journey!!

worldtravler79 on

Hi Darling! I just caught up on a couple of your blogs....I found myself thinking about how we would have laughed at that French lady if I had been with you. I cannot get over the beauty. I am so happy you are there!!! I am glad you stayed out of town in Vang Vieng!

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