Under the Laos Rain Clouds – It didn’t quite rain for forty days and forty nights so I can’t compare my situation to the Ark and all the animals and such. At one point, I did see some irritated chickens fluttering around on the patio and some very anxious looking bison wandering around town during our 90 hour rain shower. Yes, 90 hours of rain.
The same day that we arrived in Vang Vieng, eager to test our paddling skills on the bubbling rapids, the sun decided to take a break and hide for three-point-five days while the rain and gray clouds took over the spotlight. Various eateries and cafes took advantage of the stranded travelers by pulling out their pillows and mats to show movies and episodes of “Friends” around the clock. There was nothing else to do except watch the Ross and Rachel saga over and over and over.
Tubing in Vang Vieng – Just as we were out of new books to read and were about to go stir crazy in the little town, we woke on the fourth day to sunny skies. Yay! We grabbed our bikinis and raced to the river with our tubes in tow. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea and the river was full of friendly faces and shouts of greeting that echoed off of the canyon walls. Several entrepreneurs have taken the opportunity to build miniature bars along the muddy banks, complete with zip lines, bamboo diving boards, and swings that shoot you out into the middle of the river. Dangerous? Yes! Fun? Indeed!
We survived – The whole experience of tubing in Vang Vieng is pretty entertaining. When the river is about to sweep you past a “resting” point, the tiny Lao-bar-man tosses out an impossibly long bamboo pole, hauls you to shore (with your five friends and the guys you have met along the way grabbing on as well), hands you a freshly open brew, and then pushes you on your way down the river. We stopped at a couple of the more popular bars to offer some American camaraderie and have a whirl on the zip lines and swings. It was quite an afternoon.
The concept of river tubing in Vang Vieng goes like this
1. Rent a rubber tube from one of the offices in town for 40,000 kip
2. Ride in the back of a truck, clutching your inner tube and disembark at the Nam Song River.
3. Relax in your slightly uncomfortable tube and start your adventure of floating down the river.
4. Stop along the way, meet new people, jump off a “diving board”, buy a beer, and then scoot on to the next adventure point.
Need the end of the river, we had to walk more (while pulling our tubes) than we actually tubed due to the shallow waters. Thank goodness for sandals or our feet would have been cut to pieces on the sharp rocks.
Maybe we’ll go again tomorrow?