Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tubing in Vang Vieng

We'd been told that the tubing didn't start until 2pm by the guy at the hotel. This wasn't to be the first time he lied to us! Anyway, we went for some breakfast, gathered our stuff into our little waterproof bags and where all set for some carnage. I was wearing my swim shorts, the beater (vest) I'd got from smile bar the night before which was lush, my Jesus sandels and in my waterproof bag I had about 15 quid and my camera. This was twice as many things as I should have brought! I lost the beater (imagine, white, with a cartoon smiley face on the front and the message on the back of "drink tripple, see double, act single" - genuis) my Jesus sandels that I'd only bought 2 weeks before and temporarily my new camera. I'll come on to that.

So you go to the tubing station and rent a tube for 5 quid and have to give a deposit of 6 quid. so long as you bring the tube back before 6pm you get your 6 quid back. And this covers your tuk tuk to the start too. In the tuk tuk there I got chatting to 3 English girls who had all met via a travelling forum and where travelling together. we arrived at the river and crossed over to the first bar. You can hear music blaring from all the bars and they're all playing the same few songs, "me no speak americano", "hopeless place" by Rhianna, "sexy and I know it" etc. It was far busier than I expected but just a fantastic. I was in heaven, there was zip lines, free shots at every bar on arrival, rope swings, slides, beer pong, volley ball and everyone was pissed, pained up and all the girls where honey's in bikinis. How the Lonely Planet doesn't list it as one of the highlights of Laos I'll never know. We'd had reports of 3 people who had already died in the last month and had loads of different stories on how they went. Apparently they where all aussies, one had died by jumping into some rocks, one just disappeared and his body floated up the bar at the end one day and one died trying to surf on top of a tuk tuk whilst it was driving along. God knows what the truth is, I really didn't care, if you die at Vang Vieng quite frankly that's natural selection as far as I'm concerned. If you can't control your drinking and do something stupid then it's best you're out of the gene pool! Anyway, back to the tubing itself, after the first bar and a bit of beer pong we all headed down the river to the next bar to get a free shot before heading over to the zip line. The first time I did it I jumped off before the 'end' as that's what i figured you did. Then I realized, if you ride the thing right to the end there's a stopped that if you smash into it spins you 360 and you flip into the water! That was freaking sweet fun (I'm currently trying to upload the video of me doing it onto facebook). Then after that we floated down to a couple more bars and I flirted with anything and everything in a bikini! But there was only really one girl I wanted, Maren. At one of the places there was a slide that had a big ramp at the end that flung you into the water. I figured (in a moment of drunken stupidity) that it would be a good idea to film this. Despite my best kung fu grip on the on the camera on entry into the water the camera slipped out of my hand and sank to the bottom of the river. I tried retrieving it with some goggles but I was too drunk and didn't know where it was I landed in the water. So a local offered to get it out for me for 50 dollars. Eventually we settled on 20 dollars and he dove in and found it withing 10 minutes. Then when it came to paying him I realized I only had 7 dollars on me so gave him that. he wasn't happy and told me to give him the camera back and come back tomorrow with more money and get it then. I told him to politely go fuck himself and he could either take the 7 dollars or have nothing. At the end of the day 7 dollars for 10 minutes work is a small fortune for a local so I didn't feel bad about the arrangement and he reluctantly agreed. Maren Then came up to me and asked if I was ok, I told her I was a bit pissed off and needed a kiss to cheer me up. To my surprise this line actually worked! Then we took our rings and floated down the river towards the finish line. This part of tubing seemed to take forever and as the sun was setting it was getting pretty cold in the water so we got out and flagged down a tuk tuk to take us back. We took our tubes back to the rental place and got our deposit back, minus a small fee for bringing them back late. Then the five of us got changed and headed to a nearby restaurant for some much needed stomach lining. at the table next to us was a couple of pretty pissed of guys who had parted with like 20 dollars for a magic mushroom pizza that had no effect on them! We all headed to bucket bar where we each got our free bucket (between 9 and 9:30) then headed to smile bar. I can't remember what order we went to each place but it really didn't matter, I just spent the whole time talking to maren. She was great to speak to, she just had a way of making me completely comfortable speaking about anything from my family, to my friends to my ex girlfriends. Anyway, she may end up reading this so I better stop talking before I say too much!

The next day all the german guys headed off to Pakse and I was planning on staying a while longer tubing. I figured I could easily spend at least a week there as it was so much fun and even if I didn't go tubing on some of the days I could always just chill in one of the countless restaurants showing either friends of family guy all day. I met up with the English girls who had partied a little too hard the night before and where feeling rough and we all grabbed a tuk tuk to the start of the tubing. This time I decided not to bother with a tube and to just float between the first few bars. You can easily get by on a tenner as they give out so many free shots you get pissed for next to nothing. It was kind of hard to get into the same mood though, the girls where a bit quiet through being tired and hungover and I was already missing Maren. Then when I did the zip line to cheer me up a bit I landed funny and somehow got a big bruise on my forehead the swelled up to the size of a golf ball! I then headed back to my hotel where the guy had moved me into a 'dorm room' which basically was a broom cupboard with a bed. He also tried to over charge me for the room as he thought I was pissed and wouldn't remember the price we'd agreed that morning. Then the next day when I asked him where the hot shower was that he'd promised me he told me to use the hose that's next to the communal toilet at which point I hit the roof and demanded a hot shower in one of the other rooms not being used. That was the icing on the cake, I decided to get the hell out of Vang Vieng and track down the Germans again in Don Det.....

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