26 July 2012

Tubing Capital and Other Adventures

My bungalow to the left of that center one.  Not too shabby of a location!  $7 a night!  I love Asia.

I survived Vang Vieng… but probably because the one day I went out, after the first bar, it started pouring  (and by pouring I mean dumping) rain and we weren’t allowed in the river… so my new friends and I stayed at the first two bars that were next door to each other and proceeded to get drunk off of buckets and I danced my ass off in the pouring rain.  Such a great time!  While it would have been nice to at least stick my ass in the water, I was able to do one of my most favorite things in the world there, which is just dancing my ass off. 

I stayed in this cute little bungalow on “the island” (one of two and I’ll tell ya why).  While it was quite rustic and closely located to all the action of the late night bars, it was literally 50 yards from the nearest bar where they had the sound system pumping!  I’m glad I went in the off season as I can only imagine what that place looks and sounds like in high season – nothing but pure drunken madness filled with people who have multiple injures from either tubing or just being too drunk and falling all over the place. 

Vang Vieng’s night scene is quite the night scene.  Bucket after bucket is handed over to patrons looking for a good, crazy, drunken night.  I don’t even know if glasses of drinks are sold as no one ever had one in their hand.  One interesting thing about VV is that there is an additional menu to the drinks and food menu, the uh, miscellaneous drug menu.  Happy shakes (shakes with marijuana), happy herb pizza, joints, bags of marijuana, mushrooms, and opium.  This isn’t some shady drug dealer or taxi guy selling, this is an established and well advertised bar with a laminated menu laying on the bar for all to see.  The penalty if caught buying/using these drugs is far worse than the US and there is no court room.  You either pay the cop off or go straight to jail for several years.  However, many establishments pay cops off to keep them off the island and turn a blind eye.  Besides they make more money being paid off than they do in their typical salary.  ...Geez, the demands of the market.

Now besides all of the crazy, drunken, tubing madness that this city has, there’s also some great caves and waterfalls to check out there too.  Shira and her husband, Todd, and I went to check out the Blue Lagoon there so we rented some motor scooters and headed out.  Well, it was a bit further than we realized and not exactly straight forward, but worse of all, the roads were completely unpaved and full of loose soil, mud, and a ton of rocks.  Obviously we’re all fine, but it is a pretty gnarly ride.  We finally make it out there and I’ve got to  admit, after the  Tat Kuang Si waterfall and pools, the blue lagoon didn’t exactly hold up to it’s namesake.  It was a dark blue/green with some cool tree swings, that’s about it.  My favorite part was going up to the cave and scrambling all over the rocks inside this dark cavern with a reclining Buddha.  Further in is a huge cavern with a smaller cave where others had put their muddy hand prints.  I felt like a kid inside that place.  It was so much fun scrambling around the rocks barefoot like a little spider as it was more like rock climbing meets caving.  So lovely in there too.  We really didn’t have much time to go anywhere else that day seeing that we got a late start but all along that road that we came down, there was some really cool village life and even got to hang with a local woman who had a cute monkey for a pet.  After we got back to town, we proceeded to have one of the best roti’s ever (pancake/crepe) with banana and honey.  Perfect way to end the day of caving and one of the bumpiest moto rides ever.  

Meet Shira and Todd.  Fun couple from NY that I hung out with for several days.
They were nice enough to let me crash their wedding anniversary too.

Then only picture I could capture in the cave.  For some reason, after that, all my pictures are pitch black..?
Local woman beaming with pride over her pet monkey.
Local girls having fun with the camera

Coming  out of the caves...

Coming back home at night...

This gal trying to escape the rain... children always working...


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