Thursday, May 12, 2005
I am not sure where I left off in my travel accounts, so I apologize if I am repeating earlier posts.
Here come more Laos stories
After our few days on the river, it was not hard to convince ourselves to be spoiled rotten in Luang Prabang. Too much money was spent on food, beer, movies, and I have no idea what else since I bought nothing tangible that left with me.
What this means is that by the time I grabbed a bus out of there I was ready for action; to do something and not sit around anymore. Unfortunately, the bus I was on left me in Vang Vieng. My expectations were low, and they were met. The bikers I met at the China/Laos border told me that it was a town filled with people getting high and/or drunk while watching Friends and ignoring the beautiful country around them. And they were right.
Drugs are very much illegal in Asia and people selling them tend to be very discreet. Not so in this town. Walls of buildings advertise POT, SMOKE WEED HERE, etc. ‘Happy’ shakes and drinks abound (‘happy’ meaning drug laced) and most people can be find lounging on mattresses watching movies or Friends. Meanwhile, many are indulging in happy drinks. The only crackdowns that happen in this town are against opium dens. No, I didn’t go into any, though I did see some pretty shady stuff.
Allen and I cruised down here together and shared a hotel room until I moved off to Vientiane (a couple days later). The first night there brought about some pretty high comedy, in my mind.
Dinner was pizza and beer while watching….I forget what. I think we ended up watching a couple movies as people we knew filtered in and chatting commenced. I had a couple beers, though some contact high may have been achieved. Keep reading.
I got tired around 10ish and went back to the hotel (it’d been a late night the night before so I was bushed), making a mental note to leave the door unlocked so that Allen could get into the room. Once inside, I brushed my teeth and put on my jammies (which involved stripping down to my boxers) and left the light on, thinking of Allen.
The next morning I found out that my prior planning did not prevent a poor performance. I did leave the light on, but did not leave the door unlocked. Oops. Hearing Allen tell about his night was awesome. He’d had a happy shake that took a while and then kicked in with a vengeance. Upon arriving back at the room he noticed that the light was on and the door locked. His initial thought was to go into one of the many empty and open rooms on our floor and crash until I got up in the morning. But then some paranoia hit. Maybe I’d been electrocuted somehow in the bathroom and needed help! My fave was the fear that maybe the Chinese govt/mafia had tracked me down and killed me (there was a reason he feared this, and I am still contemplating whether or not to put that story on here)! Fearing the worst, he pounded and pounded upon the door. I never heard a thing. When I didn’t respond, he ran downstairs and got someone to open the door for him. There I was in bed. I had the courtesy to raise my head and say something (I remember that, though I have no idea what was said by either of us) and then re-pass out. Yeah, maybe a little something got into my lungs. Woulda been hard to avoid it.
The next day (I think) we took inner tubes down a river; 4 hours or so. Not quite active, and I was antsy after about 30 minutes.
My time in that town was too long, but it was fun because of my new friends. And speaking of Friends, we stood at an ‘intersection’ (of 2 dirt roads) and could hear Friends coming from 4 different places. Scary.
I left, none too soon. The place was weird. Unlike other places/people that have offered drugs, this entire time seemed to be partaking and not just selling. Early in the day people laughed a bit too much and absentmindedness was quite prevalent. I am not condemning anything, it just didn’t seem right to me. The place has become a bit of a backpackers mecca, and I am not sure how good that is for the people of the town. Backpackers come in and have fun and then leave. And the people there seem to have made this their big money-maker in town. Left me a little sad.
At least the pizza was good. Not that the bugs in my stomach at the time appreciated them….