Luang Prabang! fantastic place. One of our biggest regrets is not having enough time to spend in Laos, and especially Luang Prabang. LP has an eccentric eclectic feeling that reminds travelers of Laos' colonial past. One would find it hard not to love this place, beside it being terribly cold when we were their, there is much to entertain in LP. We were traveling with 2 English girls from Bristol (Fi and Becca) and a fellow Canadian from Toronto (Matt) We make for a mean scarf shopping group and equally potent drinking contingent. Many passing travelers have said that LP is terribly expensive, however, we did not find it so. Being experienced travelers gives you some of the technical know-how on what is the right price and what is a massive rip off. It's hard to blame people, the population here is generally poor, and they see foreign tourists often as walking ATM's. We were sure to inform people we were student travelers and not ones with the huge bankroll. The boys purchased scarfs which would prove to be very useful returning to the Arctic that is Canada. Snow! it is a terrible thing, one must avoid at all costs. Anyways, 5 more days till I return and I'm already planning my next trip abroad, to the UK I go! Ahh, life is wonderful sometimes isn't it. We were staying at a wonderful hostel with brand new beds and new-style furnishings. 30,000 kip for a night! not bad at all.
After LP, we head to Vang Vienne, the tubing capital of the south or so we thought. We got to VV rather late on the first day so we opted not to tube and enjoy the scenery of the town. Somehow, we found a place with a wicked view, new beds, and a clean bathroom for an affordable price. When we got in, we thought for sure that this was going to be out of our budget. Nonetheless, we were pretty pleased to be proven otherwise. VV is a cheap city, 1 dollar baguettes and cheap pancakes litter the streets. If you have the munchies, there is no shortage of vendors willing to satisfy your voracious travel appetite. Blair and I are all baguetted out now, so we are going to head for some pizza soon. The Vang Vienne hot one is what it's called, it was a great suggestion from our Canadian friend from Vernon who is heading down to Aus soon! Best of luck to him. We went tubing the night before, and it proved to be a major disaster in the latter stages of it. Apparently no one actually tubes down the Nam Khong river, despite its auspicious title of "Tubing down the river" This branding proved rather dubious, as people swim from bar to bar, then hire a tuk-tuk to take them back. Being rookie tubers, we had no idea this was the case. Tubing in Canada means tubing, not tuk-tuking. So we decided to tube all the way down the river thinking we would be followed by a large contingent of fellow drunk tubers. Obviously, this was the case. We were 1 hour down the river and finally clued in that no one was with us, the water was getting more intense and jagged rocks began to appear. Luckily, a Chinese traveler from Hunan province saw us and decided to be nice and tow us for the next 20 minutes. Turns out he is working as a t-shirt manufacturing manager in Tibet and is on vacation in Laos. Fantastic! aid has arrived, we interchanged in mandarin for the next 30 or so, before he decided that it was time to take off! His name was Fai and we hope to see him again for a few beers on me. Long story made short we didn't get back to our place till 7pm, when it was 2 hours dark already, and involved us walking down a dark shallow river in bare feet. I managed to cut my foot earlier from a drunken fall into the river while attempting to doggy paddle to the next bar, so this made the walk down the river even more exciting than it should be. We were lucky we weren't more drunk than we were, or else it may have been fatal. Nonetheless, after all the theatrics we managed to make it back to our place, mend our wounds, cry out our poor luck, and head out for dinner. We met our English friend Erin Burn (Leeds), it was a pleasant sup rise, we knew she was going to be down in Laos, but didn't think we were going to run into her so soon. Erin Burn is fantastic! we met in Halong Bay in Vietnam and have tried to meet up for months. Needless, our anxiously awaited meeting was lovely, she was sick, but I drank nevertheless. Headed down to Smile Bar by the river watched some drugged up girl dance by herself for hours then headed home promising to meet up for lunch the next day. That's where we are headed right now, Blair and I are at the Internet cafe about to head off! So long everyone, see some of you in a week, some of you later on in the UK!
much much love,