TUBING!!!

Trip Start Jul 31, 2011
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14
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Trip End Oct 02, 2011


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Where I stayed
Terrace guest house
What I did
Got drunk as f*ck, fooled about in a river for 2 days and cut my foot open

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, August 15, 2011

The morning after some brief debauchery the night before, we headed to the tubing office to see what the crack was. Apparently no one really goes tubing before 1pm as they're all too hungover so we went to get some munch and spotted our man Hasset in the Irish bar. We'd met him a week before in Chiang Mai and had a few bevvies with him so we wandered over n said hi n chowed down our breakfast with him before heading back to the office at 1pm. The advice is to go barefoot as you'll probably lose your flippedy flops in the river cos you're a drunken fool. Sage advice but for one glaring detail; concrete roads are hotter than Hades in Summer when your in Laos in the afternoon. We were literally hopping from foot to foot whilst looking for shade to stand in on the way to the office. Alicia gaffer taped the soles of her feet and this worked real well (traveller's tip for you there folks). That said, it wasn't any worse than the sand on a Spanish beach in summer, especially given what awaited us at the other end of the tuk tuk ride from the tubing office to the river; sheer, unadulterated, ridiculousness.

Now, the easiest way to describe tubing is to anyone who hasn't bee before (as Hasset put it), imagine all the things that shouldn't go together and would give your local health and safety man a heart attack: Alcohol, a fast flowing river, alcohol, holiday high spirits, alcohol, general tomfoolery, and more alcohol, and you get the general idea. We were taken to the start of the tubing section of the Nam Song River and crossed the river by boat where we were taken to the first bar where we met up with Oli, an English lad living and working in Laos who I'd met the night before and had helped us sort our rooms at the Terrace (I'd recommend staying there to anyone going to Vang Vieng, staff are great and speak good English - good food and cheap enough rooms too with a great view over the river). Our welcome consisted of a smile and a shot of Tiger whiskey poured into your mouth by a bikini hottie; my kind of welcome, and a decent start to the day if ever there was one.

Once we got done with the first bar which consisted of a lot of jiggling to dubstep and drinking a bucket of whiskey (at which both myself and our Irish friend Hasset were beaten by Alicia) we jumped into our tubes and swam across the river to bar number 2. The bars along the river all have a few locals who help you get there in a simple but ingenious way. Basically a length of rope with a half full 2 litre bottle on the end that they hurl at you then reel you in with you clutching for dear life to the rope as you're pulled to shore.

Bar number 2 is raised up about 10-20ft from a concrete platform at the river's edge and has a rope swing for you to make a fool of yourself on before you let go and make a splash. After this bar it gets a little hazy. I remember playing volleyball in a huge mud pit with a hippo, or it could have been a fat lass, I was drunk after all. I also remember eating French fries whilst being handed an "I Love Laos" bandanna and can vaguely recall the tuk tuk ride back with "fit black girl" as she became known. The only thing I can remember with any certainty was spending half an hour puking in the shower back at the guesthouse. It was a tactical chunder mind you as if I hadn't cleared my system of booze I'd have probably still been wankered 3 days later. Needless to say I spent the best part of the next sixteen hours asleep.

Bad luck befell me the next day though, we went tubing again and at the second bar I went off the ropeswing and pulled off a textbook landing but smashed the top of my foot on some jagged flint rocks sticking out under the water from the concrete base the bar is built on as I was trying to get out. Proper paggered my Wayne Rooney bone I did. No broken bones though thankfully but well and truly murked my foot as I was fighting the current trying to get out. For my troubles I was rewarded with a 2 inch gash down the top of my foot that spewed not only blood, but also fat from the wound too. Mmmm, sexy. I asked the barman if he had a plaster (optimistic I know, for a plaster to take care o' that ) and one of the girls working at the bar said "yeah you're gonna need more than a plaster for that bad boy, come here" and poured some water on the wound to wash it out. This was followed by her pouring a healthy combination of vodka and iodene into the wound, bandaging it up and suggesting I get to a hospital. So, I finished my drink and had a free shot (why not, I'm on holiday after all, bollocks to medical convention) and said my goodbyes before heading off to hospital in the back of yet another tuk tuk.

The nurses were quite impressed that I'd turned up so quickly after injuring myself, given that normally people wait until they've finished tubing, had a skinful and got their injury thoroughly infected before coming to hospital. Apparently 20mins between injury and emergency room was something of a new record. I was in and out with 3 stitches and a fat bag of drugs within 40mins. If I'd have been in the UK I'd have spent at least 4 hours waiting even if there was no one else to see (mostly cos they're bloody useless in the UK and cos they seem to like to spite you in the NHS for having been and had fun without them) . Many thanks to Paul who was there with his broken ankled mrs for paying my hospital bill so I didn't have to go to my guesthouse then come back to the hospital and pay. He was repaid in full once we got back to town.
Ta Mate!
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