Chilling in Vang Vieng, Laos

Chomp Chomp,

That’s a good tasting steak right there, covered in mushrooms and gravy, price? Not so bad, 30,000Kip ($1US = 8,400K). Slurp, that’s also a delicious coke. Why the $^%^ am I making a deal out of what I’m eating? Try I’ve had food poisoining last few days. I’m a mind over matter kinda guy so I just kept on my usual routine but this time, paid the consequences.

6 hours in a packed minivan and being scared to eat anything, you get to a place like this and you look down and say “stomach, love it or make me relive it, suck it up, this is going down”. Delicious.

I digress.

Woke up early well not really woke up, more like was woken up with the worst stomach I’ve had in 4 months in Asia all night. What a horrible night last night was.

I digress, once more.

Aight, so I’m in Vang Vieng or something like that, it’s about ~200KM from Luang Prabang but takes you ~6hours + to get there, it’s all up and over some of the sickest mountains I’ve ever seen, besides the Rockies of course. This was different though and we went through many small villages.

I want to take a minute to say that anyone back home or anywhere in the West who says “FML, my life sucks”, get a grip, quit being a total over-dramatic loser. You have it soo good, I have it sooo good, we all have it soo good. If I could have it my way, we’d cut some of those mooches off welfare but apart from that, I’m cool with the way things are run.

Here? It’s a different way of life and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You see kids running around the streets on the tops of mountains carrying sticks and buckets full of water in front of straw huts. Even if kid “A” wanted to be something, how? What opportunities? It’s odd how so many people from the more developed world make these ficticious barriers saying oh if only x, I could have y, why? My nurse friend who works in one of these villages said most people are actually very sick compared to North America. Worms, mumps, fleas and that’s the start of it.

The door is already open for you, but you’re getting held up on the doorman not greeting you with a smile!? Who the #!#$ do you think you are? Who cares, just go to the party. These people, they aren’t even near the door, it’s not open and there is no one that would give them a lift even if they had the coin. It’s like this almost all over the world, the more you see it, the more you realize it, the weirder it feels.

Ok, I’m in Vang Vieng  aka the “Tubing on the River”. This place is situated in this massive valley with some of the dopest backdrops ever. If i was some crazed and eccentric writer, I’d move here and go into the hills with 3 mules carrying supplies from Tom’s Whisky shop and fist fulls of deet, or something like that.

So far this place kinda feels like Koh Phangan, too many people that want to party. With too many partiers, too many flies. Not sure if that makes sense to you but it should, got it? Good. It’s like besides going to get loaded in a river in Loas, there is no point to be here. I’m glad I rolled the dice and stayed as long as I did in Luang Prabang, what a place!!

Tomorrow, I’ll do that tubing bs, even if it’s just so if someone is like oh you went to Laos, did you go tubing???! I’ll be like yeah, it was ok.

A good friend of mine on this trip used to work here, he said forget the tubes, just show up at the top bar with a bathing suit and a smile. Then swim to the other bars as they are a stone throw away. There are zip lines, swing ropes, everything you need to get mangled in a developing country. I’ve seen lots of dudes with arm braces etc. Also heard some larger horror stories. Also tubes cost like $10US and everyone just “borrows” everyone elses, if you don’t get back by 6PM you lose your “deposit”. It’s still chump change but if you can get a room like I just did for ~$4.75US with private bahtroom and hot shower… Yeah you’re getting where I’m going.

Right now I’ve let this computer charge enough, I’m off to that internet cafe to see if that lovely lady from London I met is still there. She gave me a hat tip on the free wifi and looks nice for a chat and a smoke type thing.

First thoughts, I’m glad I stayed as long as I did in Luang Prabang. LP is like a TIME WARP. You’re like what year are we, where are we? Are we in 1950, 1850, 2000? Are we in Asia, France? What the!? I was sad to leave Luang Prabang, one of my favorite stops. It’s a world heritage site because it used to be a city of monks. I didn’t do it justice, I was so lazy, crap bloggeries, boo. I also have many photos that I’ll do something with, one day, maybe? Suffice to say, Luang Prabang, a city I didn’t even know existed until I got to the Laos border has become one of my favorite stops on this trip. It’s like no where I’d ever been before.

Tips hat,

P.S: I prepared some photos and like a sucker, the FTP sucks here. As a result, no photos, which sucks because the ride through the mountains as awesome. Am I getting old? Saying rides through places are great due to breath taking scenery and stuff!? What have I become, sigh.

P.P.S: Speaking of Koh Phangan, this lady I’m now talking with from London, she got bottled on New years, some guy threw a bottle in the air, hit her in the face, lip stitches and had to fix some teeth. I’m just going to say it, I have no love for Koh Phangan and the full moon party was crazy but over hyped.

P.P.P.S: Some tourists are so cheap and rude I want to scream at them. This lady is arguing with a guy over the price of a coke. She says she can buy elsewhere for 5000kip or 50 cents, he wants 6,000k but she has failed to realize this is a restaurant. I can’t imagine being in any type of relationship even as friends with someone THAT CHEAP. If you come to a developing country don’t be that person, just don’t.

5 Comments

  1. lindsay

    February 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    We have it sooo good…exactly. First time I came back to US from N. Africa and went into a big grocery store I absolutely couldn’t deal with it. Wanted to scream at everyone “do you have a
    clue?!?” Had to go stay out in the country and be isolated until I “readjusted” to life in US…

    So sorry to hear you had bad food poisoning– that is so miserable. Hope you’re doing better.
    Great posts on Laos– I can see why you like it there so much.

    take care, Lindsay

  2. Rob

    February 10, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I’m sure when I go home I’ll have a similar “wow, we have so much selection”. Most of the people I met though are less healthy now as they eat all this processed garbage etc.

    The odd case of food poisoning goes hand in hand with a trip like this.

  3. VOS

    February 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve always counted my lucky cards, Kraft single slices made me realize it.

    p.s. 6000k is a decent price for a coke but not the best

  4. Michael

    February 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Rob – I really like this post. Your doorman analogy is a very powerful one. I also feel sick to the stomach thinking that what are relatively EXTREMELY wealthy (in Lao terms at least) tourists quibble over a few cents – and that can make a big difference to the livelihood of locals. Just disgusting.

    Awesome work 🙂

  5. Rob

    February 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Vos – Tips top hat

    Mike – It’s true, I’ll negotiate on some things because there is going rate but some people are ridiculous, then again some people are just small losers. haha

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