Tuesday, 25 May 2010

DON'T get the minibus from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

I do realise that this blog is getting populated with stories about horrific bus journeys but feeling like you are going to die on public transport is a surprisingly regular occurrence out here.

Now, I'm not one for spooking easily but you haven't known fear until you've torn round dusty mountain roads with no barriers at 60mph in 5th gear. I swear I spent the entire 6 hours hyperventilating and clinging on to my headrest. We nearly crashed twice and at narrowly missed ploughing into a cockerel at one point. Oh and yelling at the driver doesn't help, in case you were wondering.

To top it all off, the retards at the front had their windows open so the aircon didn't work. The added worry that sliding around on our own bum sweat was going to topple the bus just brought a whole new dimension of terror to the experience.

I suggest getting the big bus and just praying your driver isn't a kamikaze lunatic- knowing Laotian vehicles its top speed is probably 10mph anyway and at least you'll have a few breakdowns to gather your nerves.

Friday, 21 May 2010

DO prepare yourself for Vang Vieng

Oh, Vang Vieng, home of the infamous tubing (or 'TUUUUUBIIIINNG' yelled with your tongue hanging out of your mouth like a St. Bernard and both hands clasped in rock signs, if you want to be totally accurate)- where the sole daytime activity is floating down a river on a rubber tube being lassoed into rickety bars and plied with buckets and shots of whiskey so strong it will make your eyes water.

The whole thing is just a mish-mash of horrible ideas made immeasurably worse by throwing complete drunkards into the equation. Rope swings over water so shallow you can see the rocks, for example, suddenly seem like the best idea EVER after a few buckets, until you see someone surface with a nose bleed. There's also the infamous Death Slide, on which it is well known that more than one person has broken their neck but people still go hurtling down with their eyes closed in a backwards Superman. To top it all off, there is the gentle evening pastime of Fire Limbo, which people attempt when they're so pissed their breath could catch fire. Matt is a shining example of such sensibleness, enduring burns in places one should never catch fire just for the title of 'Limbo King' and a crown that looked like a hotdog scrawled across his back in permanent marker.

Some of the weaker ones just get sucked into it and can't escape- they only came for a two day holiday and you see them trailing around three months later, still rocking a disco wig with condoms stuck in it looking like they haven't slept since they were born.

By the end of our own week, two of the group were ill from swallowing half of the Mekong, one had been arrested and three of us normally house proud girls had to sneak out of the back entrance of the hotel because the mess in the room was bordering on the obscene. All in all a successful trip I'd say.