Friday, March 4
Today was not a good day. I woke up around 4 am with “digestive issues” and between bathroom runs went online. There was a message to skype Stephanie immediately so I did. Turns out my issues were a blessing as we found out face to face with Stephanie rather than via face book that Mike's Dad died. What do we do? We're only a week into a 5 week trip. Do we go home? I figured out how to phone using skype and called Mike's mom. One of the first things she said was “keep on going. I don't want you to come home. I want to see your pictures.”
So we packed up, got on the bus for Vang Vieng and thought about it all the way there as we enjoyed some magnificent views. Vang Vieng is full of back packers and partiers and much more touristy than the other two cities in Laos we've visited. It's pretty and sits on the Nam Song River.
We've decided not to go home. There's nothing we can do there and Mom is surrounded by lots of people right now. We'll spend time with her when we get back and all the others are gone.
We decided to book a full day excursion for the next day to keep us good and busy and spent the evening talking about Dad and writing out what Mike would want to say at his father's funeral. We emailed it home and hope someone reads it for us. We called and got to talk to his sisters and Mom who are all fine with us deciding to stay. We're very thankful for a large and supportive family!
Meanwhile, we are going to enjoy the rest of our trip knowing Dad is watching us from heaven and enjoying it right along with us.
After a nice chat with the folks at home we headed out to see what we had signed up for. Honestly I wasn't paying attention. All I knew was we'd get wet, it cost $10 each, included lunch and would keep us amused all day. We just needed to be busy.
We climbed into the back of a pick up (tuk tuk) with 12 of us speaking 6 languages. Cool. Over interesting roads we travelled and were deposited on the edge of an unplanted rice field. We walked for about 20 minutes to see the “elephant cave” and happened upon a wedding in progress. We asked our guide if they minded if we joined them, he said not so we became wedding crashers. Really cool. It's not like any wedding we've ever seen. The groom was followed by the crowd who were drumming and singing to meet the bride who was in a building that may have been a chapel. Tables were set outside under tents where it looked like they'd be serving dinner. When they went in to meet the bride some of us decided that was pushing our welcome but Ida went in and said they told her to come in and sit. Later we saw them again. The bride and groom wore matching green outfits and her hair was done up in a big triangle on her head. It sounds weird but she really looked beautiful.
Next we went tubing through caves. The water was cold (refreshing) and we went about 2km into a cave and back again.
Next we were fed a delicious lunch of barbecued kabobs, rice and veggies and bread. We climbed back into the tuk tuk and were dropped off at the starting point for kayaking on the Nam Song River. At first it was peaceful and scenic with not much around but the odd local hut and fisherman. Then we came upon the place were river tubing starts. Wow! Vang Vienne is known for tubing and I can see now why it's so dangerous. There are bars everywhere offering free drinks or two for one. There are massive rope swings and water slides and none of it looks very safe. The tubing is the calm part!
We stopped for a beverage and then off again paddling through the craziness. Out the other side we happened upon a herd of water buffalo which we sat and watched for a bit and continued on our way right to the front of our hotel. All together we kayaked. 11 km.
A quick shower and walk about the beautiful property our guest house is on and met the girls for sunset. I've become addicted to lemon juice. They will actually prepare it without sugar. YUM!