Tubing in Vang Vieng
Trip Start Sep 20, 2006
40Trip End Dec 16, 2006
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Tubing: most hilarious day ever! Although we could not picture what this would entail, it more than lived up to our expectations.
We were each given a big rubber ring (inner tube), life jackets if requested and thats it, we just set off from the 'beach' down the river. The river was quicker than I thought it would be, although not exceptionally so. There were river bars dotted along the edge and when you wanted to stop, you just let them know, and they thrust a long bamboo pole out to you, which you caught hold of and pulled yourself in.
If you missed the pole they would just jump in after you and swim you to the shore. How nice. We stopped at the first bar for one drink and headed on after about half an hour. We carried on on the river for a while and stopped at the next bar, which is where it all got interesting. We had several whiskey buckets, then some spliffs were being passed around. Before we knew it we were all in hysterics and had spent about 4 hours there. We met a couple of guys who were as ratted as us, called Andy and Mike.
A local guy was there who read all our palms and showed us loads of crazy magic tricks. Lizzi had a soft spot for him coz he made her a necklace. Apparantly he told her that her palm said she was going to have 3 children and be poor. Never mind. Mine however said I was going to write, travel and be well off financially. I thought he must be psychic or something! I was too drunk to get in to it more thoroughly though.
We saw sponge bob heading down the river in a kayak. Hilarious enough. We all started cheering him and shouting his name and making Indian calls to him: "Come on David (that's his real name), you can do it, we love you David, go faster, WO WO WO WO.....". He seemed genuinely happy with this reception and even told us later it was "wonderful". We decided this was a nice thing to do to kayakers/tubers in general, and so everyone who happened to pass us on the river was cheered on in this manner, even a big bunch of Chinese tourists.
The toilet in this bar was interesting. A short distance from the 'seating area' of the bar, was a dirt path. Along this path was a 10 foot (deep) hole. I assume the boys could pee easily in to this, but clearly for girls, this was going to be a much harder task. We decided to venture in to the jungle instead. Now, going for a wee in the jungle is hard enough, without being completely intoxicated. God knows how many other people's wee I walked in, but Lizzi returned with rather fetching jungle foot (photo).
We all headed off to the next bar together.
It was getting slightly dark, but frankly we were too pissed to notice. We had some more drinks and someone handed out a banana milkshake, which was lovely. Turned out to be an opium shake. Lizzi had us in absolute stitches with a sponge bob impression, which lasted for literally about 10 mins straight, all at maximum volume. The three of us were in stitches and could barely breathe. I was clinging on to the edge of the bar so much one of the guys grabbed my arm to ask if I was ok! The other tubers looked less amused, which simply encouraged us.
Next thing we knew, everyone had gone.......... and it was pitch black. We had to get back into the river, completely mashed and get to the next bar, which was the end of the tubing run. The two lads who stayed with us and were getting a little scared, bless them. We had been told it was a long way from the bar we were in, to the final bar, approx 40 mins. By this time it was about 7pm, and was getting cold. The girls and the two lads were getting restless about how long we'd been in the water, as it felt like ages and we'd not seen anything (plus it was a full moon, which was a bit scary). They wanted to just get out, have a look around and see if we were going in the right direction. I told them it was much further up the river, but everyone was either too pissed or worried to listen. So we got out. There was nothing but one random guest house in the middle of loads of fields, with corn growing six feet high. There were no lights or anything. Most of the girls had lost their flipflops by this time and were walking around with bare feet. The boys were convinced we'd gone passed where we needed to be and that we should be walking upstream. I said this didn't make sense at all, as we'd been told it was at least 40 minutes and that it would be clear when we were finished. The tubing people would not just expect people to get off in the dark, on some random stretch of river bed, in the middle of a field. I persuaded them to get back in and go further down stream.
The alcohol must have been messing with everyone's brain, coz after about 5-10 mins, they wanted to get out again and just walk. Donna wanted to stay where she was until morning, which clearly wasn't an option. I told them the best option was to stay on the river and only get out when we actually saw something that looked like civilisation, regardless of whether we were meant to be there or not. After much stumbling around, more lost flipflops, falling over rubber rings etc, we got back into the water. After about 10-15 minutes, we saw a row full of bars on our left. HURRAH, land.... and people. It had taken us an hour and a half to get from the previous bar to the last bar. By this time we were freezing, although still quite intoxicated. Although it may sound quite dangerous, the whole thing felt hilarious throughout and has been our best day so far. The pictures show the slow progression of our mental deterioration.
When we got back, Lizzi and I went for some food and drinks. We found a bar playing Saturday night Fever and had some bevvies with our trekking friends Fergus and Nikki, who had arrived that day. We were brought over the bar's 'happy' menu, which consisted of mushroom pizzas, opium shakes, bags of weed etc etc. It was all a bit too much for us, so we went to bed. (I photo'd the menu tho!)
We all had pretty severe hang overs and vegged out in the friends bars. I thought mine was getting worse, but it in fact turned out to be a 24 hour bug thing, which felt much the same as a bad cold. I assume this was from either being in the river so long, or being in a cold river for so long. Either way it's the river's fault I think.
For the first 2 nights at our guest house, Gill and I had to suffer the constant crowing (or whatever it's called) of the local rooster, for hours on end staring about 2am. When the rooster finished, a goose took over and honked for the remainder of the morning. After I realised it was not just me who felt like murdering the birds with my bare hands (it is usually just me who is affected by these things) we decided to switch rooms, and so last night we had a nice unbroken sleep, which was great. Until the construction work started...... I took of video of me listening to the constant goose honking, it is slightly more amusing than it sounds.
Today we did more of the same: chilling out, eating and watching more Friends. I feel like I've beaten with a baseball bat, which is apparently the recovery stage of the 24 hour bug thing, so that's good. We are packing up our stuff tonight, as we are catching a mini bus to Vientiane (the capital) in the morning. We have hired a private mini bus, from a reputable company called 'Green Discovery' which we've seen all over Laos. It is just carrying the 4 of us and will only stop if we request it to, which is obviously more preferable than stopping and letting bandits on.
From Vientiane we will decide where next to go. We will need to cross over to Vietnam, but are not sure which boarding crossing point to go for. There is one in the middle of the country which is only 3 hours away and means we will stop in a place called Hue (which was the original plan).There is another crossing point 7 hours away, which is further south. We'll be spending tomoro night in Vientiane, but moving on Tuesday.
We have managed to get a photo of Sponge Bob, so everyone can see what he really looks like. We disguised our necessity for the picture as our 'desire to remember every traveller we meet'. This however, promted him to talk about the drains in his hotel and the pipe connections of his sink in his bathroom....... Nuff said.
Will keep you posted xxx
Fish, where the hell are my emails eh??? **** sister. Even Paula loves me more than you!