Carnage... utter carnage

Trip Start Sep 09, 2011
Trip End Jun 29, 2012

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What I did
Lots of episodes of friends

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, October 27, 2011

The trip down to Vang Vieng was horrendous, and all of us felt travelsick as we bounced and twisted our way along the terrible roads of Laos. We saw some beautiful scenery and some amazing scenes of Laos people, but most of it passed in a nauseating blur as we struggled to not be sick.

Vang Vieng is a dusty, unattractive, funny little place, which is really only good for going tubing. It's also infamous for playing either Friends or Family Guy in pretty much all of the restaurants. It was really strange to be able to hear different friends episodes as you walked down the street. It was strangely comforting though!

We knew that some of the slow boaters and Cheryl's lot had arrived a couple of days before, and we arranged to meet them for tubing the next day. We also found Chloe and Aaron (and their Irish friend Will), Aussies we had met in Luang Prabang, and they came too.

Tubing is big business in Vang Vieng, and tuktuks load up with Tubes (big inflated rubber rings) and then wait to be filled with tourists before driving them to the 'start' point up river, where you are given a wrist strap to indicate that you have paid. You then walk over a rickety bridge to the first bar, music blaring and people dancing on the other side.

Each bar gives out a coloured bracelet for your to collect up your wrist, and the first bar would not let you in until you had a whiskey shot poured out of the bottle into your mouth... this sort of indicated how the day would go...and so it begins.

I met some genuinely entertaining people right from the start (and throughout the day), and played volleyball in the river... Bec and I were on the triumphant team of course... no thanks to us at all in honesty, but down to the competitive, but seriously committed diving from Brett and Mark who were determined to win. Still... like any good team players, we basked in their reflected glory.

The idea is that you take your tube and float down the river to the next bar, whose workers through out ropes with bottles attached for your to pull yourself in on. The river is quite shallow in places, and you could of course swim parts of it, but it is far funnier to float on a tube. It was easier to create a sort of cluster of tubes, holding hands with others to make sure that you floated in the right direction, otherwise you could just float past the bars and carry on down river.

The steps are very slippery up to some of the bars, and in fact Aoife, an Irish physio we met on the slow boat, fell down a very long wooden set of stairs down towards the river at the last bar... Kate, Steve and I thought she had died. It was pretty scary. Fortunately she was ok, but has a lot of bruises up her legs and on her chin, bless her.

The different bars had different 'attractions' to them like water slides, diving boards, or zip wires... all as dangerous and unsupervised as each other. They all offered buckets full of whiskey and red bull (half a bottle of whiskey in each), or you could of course opt for 'mushroom' buckets. I'll leave that one for your to figure out. Shouldn't be too hard.

It was hilarious, but there was very much a feeling of total hedonism from some people.

Bec left early with Coco and Jack. Coco is allergic to alcohol so wasn't drinking, and Jack had been the day before and had got so insanely hammered that it was probably best that he decided to take it easier the second day running. I stayed on though, and had a seriously funny time spending more time chatting to people and dancing, doing shots with Tracey, and inheriting Brett's hat. In fairness we we both decided it 'suited me better.' It wasn't entirely an intentional permanent steal actually, but when we got back I realised I still had it on! (Just so you don't question my integrity, I have messaged him now he's back in Wales and he said it's fine that I keep it!)

I wouldn't do it every day (I would die), but for a one-off thing tubing was very entertaining.

Will, on the other hand, did not fair so well.

Chloe, Aaron and he missed the last bar and floated past, so had to then make their own way over to the river bank and walk back to where the tuktuks wait for tubers. Will was so drunk he floated past them giggling. He woke up later in the middle of the river on some muddy rocks, beached by the shallowness of the water. He was not able to stand up and get out of the tube because, according to him, 'his legs wouldn't work.' An opportunistic Lao gentleman picked Will up in his boat and charged him 200, 000 kip to take him about 8 metres to the river bank, where he promptly fell over, and his inner tube floated down the river (goodbye deposit)... after a while a young lad came to help him up, but after realising that Will could not stand, instead stole his wallet and ran off. Will then found himself wandering across a field until he found someone who would give him a lift back to the town on the promise that he had money at his hotel.

Ridiculous. He was considering going again the next day when I bumped into him watching friends and laying low in a cafe near our hotel. Not sensible behaviour at all.

We only intended to stay for a very short period of time in Vang Vieng, so headed off with Aoife, Kate and Coco the following lunchtime to get the minibus to Vientiane.

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