We never really figured out, whether the floor of the Moon Pub in Vang Vieng is now actually flat or uneven. In spite of the floor question, the place anyhow made us wonder, its strangeness is hard to be topped - maybe on the same level as an unique party I once attended in ancient soviet buildings, in the middle of Estonia. To give you a hint of what was happening there; first of all, to get there you needed to cross an ancient airbase, built by the Americans some 40 years ago (mostly to support the operations in Vietnam, also to export tons of opium, which was growing happily on the fields around Vang Vieng). Bewildered by this historical place, you would then arrive at the Pub, located in a sort of hangar/barrack, filled with 1.50 tall hookers standing on beer cases to appear taller - that's why the floor question came in. Then when looking around, checking the crowd, you could not tell whether people were on alcohol, weed, mushrooms or sober. Some of them might also been bitten by the giant spider that was crawling on the entrance door. In brief: Chaos in Laos.
|Sunset view over Luang Prabang, Phousi Pagoda|
|How much Laos can one get into 1 picture?|
Luang Prabang itself was by far smaller than we expected. With some 60'000 inhabitants, it barley is a town. However, with lots of French influence remaining, and a well preserved Lao culture, the place is tempting to stay for more than just a few days. Also in Luang Prabang, we found a bbq-restaurant which is run by two guys from California, US. So it came that one night we skipped our fried rice and noodle soup diet and went for a huge and delicious piece of meat. Similar to the wine experience we had in Hoi An Vietnam, as we did not have a proper piece of meat for quite some time, it felt as the best meat we ever tasted.
In a mini-van, driven by a pirate, we squeaked around the curves on the way further south to Vang Vieng. This very beautiful piece of road (Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng), with mountains high enough and valleys deep enough to scare some of the passengers, made us feel a bit like home. Again our wish to still be on the bikes came up, maybe only because we did not really trust our pirate behind the steering wheel. An even better idea would be to conquer the country by para glider - this would allow one to get more out of the beautiful mountains and to get rid of those endless hours in tiny Lao buses.
Vang Vieng is famous for the 'tubing' which means that you get a tube and a tuktuk, drive some 5km upstream and then let yourself float back again, with the one of the other stop a one of the bars along the river. As we stopped more than once, we did not make it back before a huge thunderstorm broke out. The strong winds coming along with it made us float upstream (!) at times. Apart from the tubing, there is not too much to see in Vang Vieng. Too many restaurants and bars, no true Lao culture and more western than Asian food on the menus. Far different from places like Oudomxay or Huay Xai.
|Kiridara resort? approved!|
- were arguing with an entire lobby filled with Vietnamese officials and neighbours
- had a swim in a bay famous for shark attacks
- threw baby powder at strangers in order to celebrate Khmer New Year
- nearly died on our way from Saigon to Ha Noi
- tasted snakes, krickets, ants, dogs, French wine or Californian bbq
The above picture is showing the two of us, chilling in a pool of a five star resort in Luang Prabang. Of course, we sneaked in for free, because we can. My time in Laos is also coming to a halt. Tomorrow I will enter a train bound for Bangkok. After a short stay of a few days in busy BKK, I will fly to Yangon, Myanmar where I will meet up with Fred, another great friend from back home.
Congrats to the Swiss Hockey team for a) the silver medal and b) demolishing the Yankees in the semi final, that earned me some good money ;-)
until then, GH, living the life.
To finish this time a bit different (not talking about my hunger for a cat), here is some wisdom that I would like to share with you dear readers. Its a quote coming from the Bertrand Russell book, which has been me travel companion since the very first day:
"In action, in desire, we must submit perpetually to the tyranny of outside forces; but in thought, in aspiration, we are free, free from our fellow men, free from the petty planet on which our bodies impotently crawl, free even, while we live, from the tyranny of death." - Bertrand Russell