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July 21st Vang Vieng, Laos

LAOS | Monday, 21 July 2008 | Views [889] | Comments [2]

Kyle woke up this morning and went straight to the other hotel to get the bag with the computer. When he got back he had the bag and the computer and a big smile on his face, we high fived! He had to pay about $22 USD for the extra trip back with the computer but it was worth it. We told each other that we would never do anything so dumb again.

Breakfast at the hotel was included, I don’t know if Kyle mentioned the name of this hotel but it is The Elephant Crossing. And just like everywhere in Laos you have to take off your shoes before you go in. It is really nice to be barefoot and walk around places. I like all the beautiful wood and tile floors that they always seem to be sweeping. On one of our many bus rides in Laos I was doing some "deep" reflecting. I was thinking about the big news story about Britney Spears going into a public restroom at a gas station barefoot! And the American public thought it was so disgusting, well I was thinking that if they had published this story in Laos no one would think it was such a big deal. They would have wondered why anyone even cared since they walk into almost all public places without shoes on. Anyway just a random thought. America seems so sanitary and almost sterile compared to all the places Kyle and I have been recently. At first when we were traveling it really bothered me how dirty everything seemed but the longer we have been traveling the more boring and mundane everything in America seems. Yes, usually you know when you are at a restaurant in America that the bathroom will have stalls with doors and locks, and toilet paper, and soap and even a way to dry your hands. But really where is the fun in that?! I use the toilet a lot, or WC as it is called here, and so I have seen many, many Asian toilets and it is always an adventure and a surprise. But I am sure I will appreciate the clean bathrooms when I get back home, and all the normalcy of everything.

Ok, back to breakfast…we had an omelet with tomatoes and shallots. The menu said they could add ham and cheese for extra, so I tried to order ham and cheese but they were out of ham and bacon. It is always very frustrating when I can’t get what I want especially when it is on the menu! URGH, but the omelet turned out to be very good, and probably would have been too salty if I had added the meat. After breakfast we got ready for the day. Van Vieng is known for its tubing, partying and drugs. Well we just wanted to do the first one. We walked to the tour company but the tubing was closed and had been closed for the last couple of days since the river was so high and fast. So having seen a village flooded and hearing that tubing was canceled and seeing the river rushing by Kyle and I thought it would be a good idea to go kayaking down the river! We loved it so much in Halong Bay; we figured it would be fun to do it again. Yeah, we’re real smart! Anyway the trip was supposed to be a half day kayaking trip but turned out to be only a couple of hours. We took a tuk-tuk truck, which is like a pickup truck with a canopy on the back and a bench on each side of the truck to sit on. We were going down the river with two men from Japan. They had never kayaked before. I was concerned, we had only done in on a bay and we were told there would be rapids! When we got to the river the guides gave us some simple paddling instructions, and told us what to do if we tip over! OMG! I am not a good swimmer and I was worried about hitting rocks or trees. This sounded very dangerous. The kayak was different from the ones we used in Halong, but they seemed better. We set off, and the Japanese men were having all sorts of trouble steering their boat. Kyle and I were doing pretty well; we barely had to paddles since the water was going so fast. As we went down the river we realized why tubing was canceled. All of the little bars and bungalow guesthouses that the tubers stop at had been washed into the river. Most of these places had big swings that you could swing out into the water on, but those were toppled over as well. The river would have to go down, and then the shore would have to dry up a little before they could repair all the damage the high water had done. The scenery was amazing. Kyle and I always look at each other and say how it is unbelievable where we are. This was one of those times. We had gone through a couple of small rapids and we had done fine with it, but then we came to a rather large set of rapids! We went in, and then all of a sudden we had tipped! They told us to keep our feet up so we wouldn’t hit them on anything, we also had to hold our paddle and hold the rope on the side of the kayak. I was able to do all three of these things, and very quickly the guide was over to us to help us flip the kayak back over.

When I was younger I went camping with my mom and her boyfriend, I was maybe 6 years old or so and didn’t know how to swim. We my mom’s boyfriend wanted to go canoeing. So we were out in the middle of the lake and he thought it would be funny to rock the boat! Well we flipped and we lost our camera, and my mom had to have me hang onto her neck and hold one end of the canoe and swim to a shallow part of the lake so they could flip the canoe back over. Well my mom was really pissed and when we got back to the campground we went straight home! I was pretty scared the whole time too. I do remember thinking my mom was really brace and strong to be able to swim all that way with me on her back and pulling the canoe. I am sure her anger spurred her on. But anyway I have always been a little uneasy in canoes since then. Kyle was well aware of this and has always been very careful with me when it comes to small boats. He never goofs around and tries to rock the boat, although I am sure he would love to! So back to kayaking…

Kyle was very worried about me! He was looking over at me all worried and telling me to keep my feet up and there was a lot of panic in his voice. I was fine, which surprised me! I was able to hold the rope, my paddle and keep my feet up! So the guide flipped the kayak back over, and Kyle quickly hopped back in. Later the guide said he got back in so smooth and so fast he was like a professional! I had a little trouble getting in. I got my paddle up in the kayak and then I got my top half in and swung my legs up! I was a little shaky afterwards but I hadn’t even gone under water, and I have done everything right. Kyle was still very surprised how well I handled it. The rest of the rapids were no problem since we knew now to keep our kayak straight, duh! So we had a great time even though it was short. The Japanese guys never got the hang of steering and always ended up in the trees or running into the shore!

When we got back to our hotel, which actually the kayaking trip ended less than a block away from our hotel, we met this couple from Britain that had been traveling since February. They started in Russia, and did the Tran-Siberian railway; they went to Mongolia and China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and a ton of other places I have forgotten. But it was very interesting to hear about their travels, especially how they wanted to be in Russia in the winter! They were saving money for retirement but decided they would rather travel and experience things while they were younger and could do more. I love meeting people like that, they are such an inspiration! We had a couple of beers with them and talked some more sitting by the river. So lovely!

Then we went up to the room to shower and find some dinner! I was starving; we had only shared a small pizza at a Friend’s bar before kayaking. We finally found a place that looked nice, didn’t play Friends, and served both Western and Lao food. I had a burger and Kyle had an extra hot curry with rice. It took forever for our food to come, but while we waited a little cat came by to visit us, of course making me miss our cats all the more! The waiter was so nice, he kept coming over to apologize for the long wait for the food. I was starving, but it was a nice atmosphere. The food was so yummy! They actually served a ranch type sauce with the burger and fries (actually it reminded me of the white sauce at El Toro, which I normally don’t like but in this situation it was really good. It is hard to find anything that is creamy or cheesy, so a welcomed surprise.)

After dinner we stocked up on provisions for the 9 hour bus ride that we were taking the next morning! Crackers, cheese, cookies, and some water will hopefully tide us over. We also picked up some generic Dramamine from a little shop that sold pharmaceuticals. Scary! We were told that the room is pretty smooth but very curvy and twisty up the mountain, and a lot of people puke out of the windows! I was not looking forward to this!

Back at the hotel we read for a little bit, and neglected the blog! Then went to sleep.




Holy cow Angy, you're losing weight and you're all cute and tan! Can't wait to see you guys!
Love Miss Alison

  Miss Alisinner Jul 29, 2008 4:27 AM


ange and kyle!!
i love you both SO much! can i just tell you that i literally for the past month have been shopping for a floyd shirt and then one appears - of my FAV song! I screamed when I got it and truly, I do wish I was there!
thanks and I'll see you in MN!

  steph no knees Jul 30, 2008 8:51 AM

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