Under the Laos Rainclouds – 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 ziplines, 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 ziplines and swings. It was quite an afternoon.
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?