Drifting in Vang Vieng
After the misadventure in Vientiane, my brain just needed a few days to check out. Luckily we were headed to Vang Vieng, a chilled out river town where every restaurant seems to be a TV cafe where they lounge on big couch cushions all day and watch Friends while they drink coffee after coffee-- or in Nicole’s case, milk shakes.
To get to Vang Vieng we had to take a little bus up through the mountains over winding roads, it took most of an afternoon, but the views were spectacular.
We stepped off the bus and went straight for the first hotel we saw. $6 a night. “Yeah,” we agreed. “I think we can swing it.” So we paid, hassle free, and took long naps. I told you, I needed to check out.
After our naps, we went in search of food and found the previously mentioned TV cafes. Coffee, milk shakes, pizza, Friends, and kindles. And there we sat until late in the night.
The next day we decided to be a little more proactive about our sight-seeing. Vang Vieng sits right along the Nam Song River, and you can rent great big inner-tubes and float a length of the water. There are bars set up along the shore, and foreigners tend to end up very drunk by the end of their tubing experience.
Nicole and I floated, waved and smiled at the flirty drunk westerners, declined the shouted offers from Laotian bar owners, and drifted along soaking up the sunshine.
As we neared the end of the route we were floating, lean little boys jumped from bamboo bridges and paddled over to us. They grabbed our tubes and dragged them to the shore, then held out their hands expectantly, “Money, money?” they asked. We said no, but then let them play on the tubes for the next twenty minutes. They seemed fairly pleased with the consolation prize, as they jumped and dived and tossed each other off the sides of the tubes.
The evening was again spent in a cafe with more good food and good drinks. Vang Vieng is a party town, but we just weren’t in the mood. What we needed was to relax, and in Vang Vieng we got that.
The people were friendly, the food was tasty, and the drinks were delicious. We didn’t stay long, though. Our next stop was Luang Prabang.