Somewhere new

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Had to be up pretty early for our trip to Vang Vieng, something I have become unaccustomed to these last few lazy days! Packed everything (including the hotel towel! I've had enough of my crap travel towel) away and headed to grab a tuk-tuk to the bus station. Again didn't take long as one was waiting outside our guesthouse.

Pretty hungry so we grabbed a chicken baguette and boarded the bus. It had an unbelievable amount of salt and pepper coating it and I ended up taking the chicken out. The water bottles in Laos are useless. I struggled for 10 minutes trying to get the lid back on but eventually gave up and put it on the floor.

I wouldn't really call the bus VIP but it was better than the public bus. Fair enough the promised air-con didn't work but the bus was empty so I could stretch out over 2 seats.

It was only a short 5 hour journey today and I planned to sleep through most of it. Lars even popped 3 Valium to help him sleep and it seemed to work well as he was out within minutes.

Within a couple of minutes of moving, my water bottle fell over and went everywhere! I just sat there grinning to myself whilst the bus helper cleaned it up. I knew it was inevitably going to happen so tried to plead innocence.

It's a shame I slept most of the way because the scenery on this route is superb. Around the mountains with really low cloud that looks like it is wedged there and can't escape. We stopped at numerous villages along the way to pick up supplies. At one village they collected so much rice that it was packed 2 sacks high down the walkway on the bus. They weren't finished there though however as they tossed our bags out of the luggage hold and onto the backseat so that they could accommodate more rice!

It was quite disconcerting to see armed guards with machine guns while they were loading on the rice but quite a relief really. A few buses along this stretch of road had been attacked by Hmong rebels in recent years and I hadn't even remembered until then. Nothing happened though and I never really expected it to.

Arrived in Vang Vieng in stupidly humid heat and quickly chose a hotel near the main street to dump our bags. Vang Vieng is tiny and must be one of the most relaxed place on Earth. If anywhere has a festival vibe it is here. All the restaurants have benches covered in cushions so that you can slouch down and relax. They reminded me of my time at Glastonbury this year at the small world tent although instead of lying around watching random bands and drinking tea it was watching Friends on the TV. Pretty much every cafe on the main street had Friends DVD's on a constant loop all day!

So what better to do than find a bar (not showing Friends!) and laze away the rest of the day, hardly moving and drinking a few beer? Could it get any better than this? Lars loved the bar so much that he spent 7 hours lying in the same seat without moving! It was called Jaydee's by the way and was to become our home for the next few days.
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