Finally, Civilization!

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Tubing on the Mekong in Vang Vien
Laos "Arc de Triomphe"

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just arrived today in Vientiane (capital of Laos) from spending a night in Vang Vien.

Vang Vien in one phrase:  Laos Las Vegas
Vientiane in one phrase: Laos Paris

Keep in mind, these are VERY loose comparisons.

We went tubing down the Mekong River in Vang Vien.  There are bars along the river, where, as you free float down, they toss long ropes for you to catch and they pull you in to have some drinks.  I think it's all just a big scheme to get you wasted, and play a sick game of "see whose head I can whack with the rope the fastest".  It's a weird version of a booze cruise, but instead of a boat, you're on an inflated, recycled, rubber tube.  Regardless of the tourist trap the whole thing is, the actual ride is phenomenal, surreal, and breathtaking as you gaze about at the beauty surrounding you.  We didn't bring cameras (many ppl lose them), so we'll have to depend on the images etched in our memories.  Wish we could share them with you.  Would definitely recommend this, but a word to the wise:  no insurance company covers the entire town of Vang Vien any longer.  Let's just say the whole tubing thing isn't backed by WCB.  Our tour guide even went off duty while in the town...

Vientiane is quite pretty in some parts.  Even has its own version of The Arc de Triomphe.  Lots of French influence here.  One of the leftover effects from the French in Laos has been the delicious baguette sandwiches we've had here.  They're basically Vietnamese subs, but with awesome bread.  You can get them everywhere for 10,000 kip ($1.25).

Heading off tomorrow for camping by some waterfalls, then a guesthouse, and then another remote village.  It's raining so it might be miserable.  We're going to have difficulty finding electricity, running water, and internet for the next few days.   So, I guess it's "over and out" for now!

I am excited about the fact that the next remote village actually has WESTERN toilets (but no showers).  No flushing (you just pour water in to manually "flush" everything down), but I won't have to squat!  Well, squat as low that is.  Backsplash is no fun...
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