Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Yay for Laos! I arrived here on Tuesday via a somewhat shady flight on Lao Airlines and landed in perhaps the most basic airport I have ever seen. The "security" dude was reading a magazine and didn't look at the screen while my bag went down the security conveyor belt at all. Rad. So, everyone says that Laotians are super chilled out and now I get it. Relative to Cambodia, this place is a dream come true - no major pollution, motorists that seem to abide by rules, sales folk that understand the phrase "no thanks"... Everyone that I have met so far has been supremely friendly. I spent about 24 hrs in the capitol of Vientine. I got to see an AMAZING sunset over the Mekong River, eat a Laotian specialty of a grilled fillet of fish that is covered in salt and seasoned with lemongrass, and ride a bike to see lots of lovely Buddhist temples. Ultimately there aren't that many sights in Vientine so I felt like it was time to leave after a solid 24 hrs of exploring. I arrived in Vang Vieng (which is about 4 hrs north) this evening. This place is a bit nuts - I have yet to see it in the daytime, but the main attraction is the river that runs through town that is surrounded by limestone bluffs. The reason it's nuts is because the town has turned into a haven for backpackers and pretty much everything here caters to that culture. "Chill out" bars that show reruns of Friends, The Simpsons, etc. "Happy shakes" laced with drugs, and tons of cheap accommodation. Anyway, the scene here is pretty much my version of hell with hundreds of drunk 21 yrs olds wandering around drinking cocktails from buckets etc. Like one gigantic frat party! Ha, look how old and jaded I am :). That aside, I'm looking forward to my day on the river tomorrow. Going kayaking and tubing through some caves. Considering a rock climbing tour too if I can deal with fratville for another night. It really is bizarre to think I'm in Laos while in this uber-backpacker town.