Well I haven't updated in awhile because I wasn't sure what to say about a few things!
We called it an early night & met up with Teresa & Terrence at about 6:30am to walk to the bus station in Vientienne where we purchased tickets for the local bus to Vang Vieng...and what a local bus it was! Dodgy as all get out...the seat Crystal & I were in was rusted thru the floor and if we leaned back the whole seat went back! Yikes! So we tried not to lean. There was plenty of fresh produce on the bus as it was being transported to a backwoods little town. No A/C, but the windows opened. All locals, the 4 of us were the only westerners on the bus, save one older gentleman who seemed to have done it all before. It was an experience. The back door at the back of the bus kept swinging open & I kept getting up to shut it, we stopped a couple of times, so that people could pee on the side of the road & to unload the bounty of goods at a market type place. We arrived in Vang Vieng & followed the older gentleman to what seemed like town. Terrence & Teresa had met a couple of people who recommended a guesthouse with cheap rates. So we went on a hunt & it was successful. Quite nice rooms even! We got settled & then set out for lunch.
On the road we were accosted by a guy giving out free coffee in order to advertise this one restaurant, so we ate there. Pretty good food, we ate there quite a few times during our stay in Vang Vieng. After lunch we wandered the tiny town. Got some ideas & made some plans.
2) cycle to the caves & waterfalls, stop in at a volunteer project & see if we could help out
3) there are loads of places where a person can work/volunteer & get food, drink & accom for free - we were interested, thinking about spending a fair amount of time in VV.
So the plan was to go tubing in the morning. We ended up at this pub across from our hotel. Short tables & loads of pillows so that a person can lay down after eating & enjoy conversation, TV or movies. We ordered a couple of beer towers, because they are so fun looking & we all wanted to get one. But it was to be a mellow night in preparation for tubing. Then Terrence was enlisted to help carry in some boxes & our table received 3 free buckets. Literally - buckets of booze, soft drink & ice. Then we moved to a different table to watch a movie, had some onion rings & more drinks...we were all a little "happy". Then we moved bars - went back to the restaurant that we had lunch at & had pizza & more drinks, as well as inviting over a guy that was sitting on his own. This is where things get a bit spotty for me. Fun was had, interesting pictures were taken, too much alcohol was imbibed. And I was pretty hung over when I woke up the next morning.
It was a big brekky of carbs & grease & lots & lots of water & I was feeling able to walk around. We made our way down to the tubing shop & paid our way. Took the tuk tuk to the beginning of the ride & also the first bar. Everyone had a free shot & a beer - except for yours truly, I was on the water. Thru the day I had 2 beers & mostly water, also, I was the only one who ordered a meal instead of just having a couple of free fries. Everyone else was a beer & shot per bar & we went to a few bars. Very cool set up tho, ziplines & trapeze swings into deep spots in the river. Each bar throws a line out to you as you float by to pull you into their bar. There are slides into the river, really high platforms to jump from ( we jumped & swung into the river), and there are loads & loads of bars. Different music all over the place & a general good feeling about the place. We went to one bar that does mud volleyball...a giant mupit with a net in the middle, and all these dodgy holes in the ground so even if you could stand up thru the slippage, you can stay upright when you are trying to move & slip into a hole. We were all delightfully & disgustingly muddy & dirty. Mud in places one might think mud should not go! But man oh man was it fun! Then we went to a couple more places, and it was getting late, about 5:30pm, stopped off at a final bar before we were going to begin our final lazy drift down the river (we thought we were half way or so, but it turns out we had only made it about 100metres down the 4km stretch). I was a bit worried about my friends, they were all pretty boozy...and then Crystal went to climb up a ladder to get to the slide & she slipped off, fell backwards & hit her head on a sharp rock. I ran over & she told me that she was fine, but I had seen the rock & was worried. Sure enough, I got her sitting up & she was bleeding. I know head wounds bleed a lot, plus we were all wet from our journey down the river. So I got Terrence to help me get her over to the bar so that I could mop up the blood & try to see what we were dealing with. I couldn't really tell, but I didn't think it was good, so we crossed the river on a bridge & took a tuk-tuk back to town. We went to the hospital, showed them the wound & when they got ahold of it I was glad we had come, it was bigger than I had been able to tell. So she got 4 or 5 stitches, a course of antibiotics & some painkillers & we were told to get them checked in 7 days. This Friday, the 5th, will be 7 days. Needless to say, amazing day, scary evening. I watched her like a hawk that night, worried about concussion etc, but she seems to be doing pretty good. She's well enough to be lipping me off for worrying about her too much. (But I'm afraid of Denise!!!)
So, after that our time in Vang Vieng was more mellow. Crystal had a sore head & we couldn't do anything involving water because the wound can't get wet. So it's been a mellow time, which is good - a holiday should have some mellow times! It was fortunate that we were in a town with all these nice places that you can lay around & watch movies in! We were there for another 3 or 4 days & then we hopped a bus with Terrence & Teresa up to Luang Prabang.
It's a much more quiet place, a lot of older couples & tour groups. A heritage town, but again, most of the activities involve water. So we've been sleeping in & eating & wandering around shops etc. It's a beautiful little town & Terrence & Teresa go & do activities & tell us what we missed or did not miss & we spend our evenings chatting with them. Last night we went to this great Lao BBQ place where they set this BBQ type thing in front of you & you boil veggies & BBQ your meat & it was tasty & fun!
I've been trying to make some calls using Skype, but the mic isn't working & I'm afraid I'm annoying Spyros's family by calling & not saying anything. LOL So I'm putting that whole idea on hold for a bit. I will make calls when I'm back in Thailand.
The plan right now is to take a slow boat from here to Thailand, starting tomorrow morning, it will take a couple days, but will be a new way to travel! :) We will be in Chang Mai with Teresa & Terrence, and after that we will part ways, as they head home earlier than we do.
Laos has been a fabulous country & definitely want to come back with more money & time to see all the things that there are to see!
It think that catches you up on what has happened the last little bit!