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From deck chair detonation to Dantes' dead bum express.

LAOS | Thursday, 22 February 2007 | Views [1992] | Comments [1]

Where's Wally?

Where's Wally?

Oh beautiful Vang Vieng! How sorry I was to leave your warm hazy embrace. Again you have become the highlight of the holiday and forced me to declare it to be the best place in South East Asia. And to have to leave you after one short week. Can my memory ever hope to do justice to so much fun squeezed into such a short time span?

Bus rides just aren't my forte this time around and leaving Vang Vieng became another story worth telling for the opportunity to talk about my ass again. So, to cut a long story short, and stitch it back together as an even longer story, the 6 of us booked the last 3 seats on the bus and magically created 3 more in the highly dubious form of plastic deck chairs in the aisle. I was lucky enough to score one of these and spent the trip holding tightly to the chair in front of me for fear that the plastic legs would give way underneath me.

Trying out one last test of my lactose intolerance seemed like the way forward, and I had a cookies and cream cornetto on our trip break. Within 15 minutes a tornado warning was sounding in my lower regions. With my headphones on, I released some pressure quietly, or so I thought. All heads turned towards me in astonishment and proved that thought to be completely false. My vegan bacteria continued its crusade for 3 hours until the storm passed with one last nuclear detonation that melted the plastic of my chair. I looked around for accusing stares but thankfully everyone was asleep; or dead from asphyxiation.

A whole day was needed in the capital Vientaine, to figure out why a whole day was needed. After a prolonged period traveling with Adam and Gemma, I felt it was time for a temporary change. I planned to return to Thailand with Steph to meet 2 of her friends and travel with them for the remaining 10 days of Stephs holiday. I would then return to Sihanoukville to spend the last 2 weeks in Cambodia with Adam and Gemma. Plans have had an unsurprising tendency to unravel long before coming close to fruition so lets see how things pan out.

Anywhat, while figuring out stuff, I came up with plenty of great ideas, none of which were related to our current situation. So we just decided to take in some of Vientianes sites. The morning market sold the usual cheap, unnecessary and totally tempting crap. The Arc de Triumphe looked good in certain lights, ie. complete darkness, and was a triumph of concrete over common sense. Even its greeting plaque panned the monument as a concrete joke that no one got. It gave a nice view of the flat, featureless and hazy skyline and its cool recesses gave me another chance to play with the locals.

I thought they were trying to see who could piff their shoes the furthest. After launching mine 3 weeks into the future, their hysterical laughter awoke me to the fact that the aim of the game was to land my shoe as close as possible to the first one that had been thrown. I accepted my dishonorable discharge and rejoined my own kind.

That night we boarded Laos version of the Titanic. A sleeper bus with double beds instead of seats! Pure genius. We rode in the 5 person party bed at the back with Lisa having a double bed to herself. Being built for Asians though, even Steph at 5'8" didn't fit, saying some but not all that could be about how uncomfortable it was for someone over 6'. And no trip is complete without some video karaoke prompting calls like "Oh God, please take me now!" and "You and your TV can go to hell!" Both courtesy of Adam, a believer in the theory that music can never be hard or fast enough.

If I thought that was uncomfortable, it is an understatement to say that I was not prepared for the ride that followed. All aboard the sardine express. Who could tell where one body ended and the next started? Bags of cement, snot nosed kids, barbecued animals on sticks, limbs dislocated and bums praying for euthanasia. Thankfully it was only 3 hours, but Dante would have loved describing every minute of it.

Lastly we were unpacked at a river and repacked into a boat for the short trip to Don Det in the 4,000 Islands. This is Laos version of catatonia. Time isn't an abstract concept here; it just doesn't exist. If anythings moving here, it's doing it slowly or it shouldn't be doing it at all. Even the Mekong dordles past slower than usual. Its lucid depths a perfect answer to the heat I prayed for in Luang Prabang.

Every place is selling Happy everything and everyone works at a pace which denotes the extent of their own Happiness intake. One place even offers to cater for your wedding, in the style of Happy. I decided to have at least one huge night just to indulge in the Happy hangover brunch. Happy omelet, garlic baguette, 7up, 500mg paracetamol, 10mg valium and a fruit salad (The token health option!) All for $4AUS! Having a hangover never sounded more tempting.

Tags: On the Road



As if you ever needed an excuse to enjoy the moments before a hangover conquers your senses!!! Make the most of all bargins offered, you won't find any back home (wherever that may be) :-(

  Zoe Champion Feb 26, 2007 8:01 AM

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