Let's get wet!

Trip Start Oct 27, 2004
Trip End Aug 17, 2005

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, April 16, 2005

We skipped through Vientiane without really seeing much, after 3 days driving, followed instantly by an awful overnight bus, we weren't really ready for any sight-seeing. We had literally handed the scooters back in Pakse and hopped onto the bus, so it was time for a long sleep and a couple of beers. Unfortunately, after drinking in Vientiane's only real bar for about an hour, we both came to the realisation that Vientiane's one and only bar was also one of it's many knocking shops. There were about 15 barmaids, some at various stages of changing their gender, for the 10 customers present. Most were buying too. We felt about as comfortable as a happy travelling couple in a brothel, and quietly left.

We arrived in Luang Prabang just in time for Song Kran, or, our third new year this trip! The Lao people, like the Thais, celebrate new year by throwing water at each other; unlike the Thais, however, the Lao people have no qualms about soaking complete strangers. Having found a place to sleep on the floor of a mini-cinema we went to the market and purchased two brand new two-dollar super soaker imitation guns. War was declared.

For three days we were dripping wet and covered in all sorts of dyes (the local Indian population seemed to make it their own 'Holi' festival by sneaking tikka powders into their buckets and water guns), as well as a disgusting mix of used Wok-oil and charcoal. The locals and foreigners were all as drunk as lords and everyone seemed as happy as Larry to have a bucket of manky Mekong water tipped onto their heads. Its a miracle that no-one got Typhoid.

We were also treated to a home-made rocket competition, this also seemed to involve a large deal of Lao-Lao drinking (Lao Poteen), most of the contestants were drunk when they built the things and so was the guy on the scaffolding who lit them. Most exploded or flew into the crowd, the guy lighting them even did a little dance and downed more Lao-Lao every time he nearly had his head blown off. I've never met a populace so happy and fearless, someone suggested that, rather than being laid-back, Lao people were actually a little bit slow in the head. I can't say that I'd agree, but after being bombed back into the 17th century and a life-time of drinking Lao Lao I think most Lao people are a little unhinged.

The festival was absolutely incredible and showed just how pleasant, good natured, generous (each drenching was followed by an offer of Lao Lao or a glass of beer) and fun the Lao people are. By the time we had dragged ourselves out of bed each morning and shook off the cobwebs, most of the locals were already steamin and dancing on the backs of trucks, drenched to the bone. There is definitely something to learn from Eastern culture!
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