Right inside the cave there was an underground lake. It was fun to go for a short swim, even though it was a bit cold. Our huge old technology lamps were actually waterproof- we could go swimming for them. There were parts of the cave that were really beautiful. One had thin layers of caramel coloured crystal lattice. Pity the guides thought it was okay to pick off a couple of stalactites to give to us! We think it was Tham Hoi cave but are not sure. It is one of the caves in the loop of caves 13kms out of town. We booked a tuk tuk from the guesthouse to get there.
16 November 2007
The most popular activity in Vang Vieng is the river tubing, so that what we spent the afternoon doing. Tubing along the river is beautiful. Along the way there are bars constructed from bamboo that usually have a rope swing that you can use if you buy a drink. There were lots of travellers and lots of loud western music! To get you into the bar someone throws a bamboo pole attached to a rope at you and you grab it and they pull you in. I think someone drowns every so often which is alcohol related. The rope swings are some of the best I’ve ever seen. They usually involve climbing up a bamboo platform and swinging off something that either resembles a trapeze or a flying fox. I didn’t go on any rope swings but did stop for a game of badminton.
We stayed at Viengsavanh guesthouse, and at $4 a night it is the cheapest accommodation I’ve stayed in my whole life. It was simple but good.
07 November 2007
The boat weekend is a big party in Vientiane. The main streets are lined with food stalls, random stalls selling things like soap, fly spray or clothes, and fun gambling games. There are mountains of grilled chicken, coconut sticky rice in tubes of bamboo, steamed buns and popcorn. They had some of the best jumping castles I’d ever seen! The most popular gambling game seemed to be a game where you throw a dart into a grid of balloons and if you hit the marked balloon, you win a prize. The music was really loud and I had never seen so many people in Vientiane.
I watched some boat racing from the starting line. Two boats race at one time. Each boat has 40- 50 people in them. They are what we would call ‘dragon’ boats in Australia, but are about twice the size of the ones I’ve seen in Australia. I noticed that one of the people in group of starting line officials had two very large guns- AK47s. I wondered why he needed such huge guns- what security issue could he possibly have? I see many guns like that but it’s usually someone in a khaki uniform that carries them, usually police, military or security guards. This guy was in plain clothes. I was very surprised when I realised he used these guns as the starting guns and alternated them between each race.
There were lots of fireworks available for sale for 10-50c. It was scary to see so many people letting them off. You light the tube of fireworks and they fire one at a time. An adult was seen chasing a child with fireworks. My friend said her neighbours gave their 6 year old child some fireworks. When the first one fired out she got scared and started spraying them everywhere. My friend ran for cover.