Again, we think that means hello, but possibly not. Anywho, you may have guessed by the title and the new language, that we are in a new country. And that country, ladies and gentleman, is fantastic! Setting foot in Laos after being in Vietnam would make anyone breath a sigh of relief. Don't get us wrong, we really enjoyed Vietnam, but the atmosphere here in Laos is just so much more relaxing, refreshing and fun. For example, when you get harassed in the street in Vietnam, it goes something like this:
Cyclo driver: "Madam! Madam! Cyclo? 1 hour? Cyclo?
You : "No thanks"
Cyclo driver: "1 hour! Cyclo! Where you go?"
You : "No"
Cyclo driver : "1 hour! Cyclo! Where you go?"
You (walking faster) : "I don't want a cyclo.We're walking, it's healthy"
Cyclo driver then proceeds to follow you around for ten minutes repeating the only 3 sentences he know in English.
In Laos, it's more like this:
Tuk-Tuk driver: "Tuk-tuk? Waterfalls??"
You: "No thank you"
Tuk-Tuk driver : "Ok"
It's fantastic! And fantastic. That's all.
Anyways, we started our tour of Laos in Luang Prabang, which is a lovely city. It's all green and mountainous around the city and the actualy town is quite cute. We wandered around for a while before meeting Roisin, Matt and Callum for dinner and drinks. On our second day, we got Lao massage (3 dollars for an hour!) where our massage therapists doubled as mosquito killers... we'd be getting massaged and then BAM! She's slapping you, giggling and saying "Mosquito!" The massages were nice though, and after feeling thoroughly relaxed, we decided to climb up a mountain to see the temple and the sunset. There were too many clouds for the sunset, but the temple was pretty. Anyway, thats about it for Luang Prabang... but it might ineterest you to know that the "international" airport is about the size of Fairview.
On Tuesday, we (the six of us) came to Vang Vieng, where the main attractions are re-runs of Friends and Tubing. So, on the night we arrived we got our fill of Friends (our brains went slightly numb) and the next day we went tubing. Tubing was FANTASTIC! The picked us up around 9, and we first headed out to a couple of caves. At the first cave, we had to wear headlights and pull our tubed butts through it with a rope. It was fun. The second cave was less fun, and probably more interesting, but we couldn't really understand what the guide was saying... something about mermaids and eagles and Buddha. After that, we ate rice out of banana leaves and the real fun began... we hit the river!!! So, we got in our tubes and slowly started going down the river... no rapids or anything, just nice, relaxing fun. And then, out of the blue, some Lao guy is sticking out a bamboo stick at you to pull you to shore. You grab on and then there you are, at the most make-shift bar you could ever imagine. It was all made of wood... that is, the bar was made of wood, the floor was made of wood, the walls were made of wood... and so forth and so on. Here, we were faced with two choices: 1) drink your whiskey and coke out of a bucket (that's right, a bucket) or 2) jump off the trapeze from oohh, 15 metres, into the water. Naturally, we did both. After a short break, we got back on our tubes and headed to the next bar. There is literally one ever 200 metres. Each one is essentially the same - booze, trapeze and benches. Good times. Needless to say, we did not stop at all of them, but we sure would have liked to! We did about three (getting a bucket at each - Oh My!) and then headed back. Our first sign that the boys had had too much to drink was when they started dropping their pants for all to see. Our next sign was when they jumped off the trapeze with no pants on. By the time we got back into town, we were probably not walking too straight, either, but at least the girls kept all their clothes on. But we really had a great time!
So tomorrow morning, we are headed out to Laos' capital, Vientiane. Apparently, it's quite nice, so we hope it lives up to its reputation. In the meantime, anyone who has been reading the blog and not posting should get on that immediately. 8 comments is really not enough for us!!! Korp Jai (thank you, we think).
Steph, Kris and Jo