Vang Vieng

September 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm 1 comment

I left my guest house around 10 yesterday and had a long breakfast. After breakfast i planned to take a tuk-tuk to the bus station because i had read online that busses to Vang Vieng ran every hour. But i decided to stop in one of those tourist booking agent places just to confirm and they could not give me a staight answer. One of the things i find characteristic about the Lao who deal with tourists is that they are more indifferent than interested in selling us anything. Even with poor english, it is possible to explain something. They hardly try. The offices are empty. How do they make money?

They told me there is a bus at 4pm. It was too late i said, because i didn’t want to arrive in Vang Vieng at midnight. I went to another place and they tried to sell me a bus for 2pm. But i want a bus at 12pm…

I decided to just take a tuk-tuk to the station. There i learned that the next bus was really at 2pm. Fine, i’ll wait 2.5 hours. At 2, me and a handful of Lao people got on the bus. A minute later we got off. There were not enough people so they canceled the bus! I had to wait for the 4 o’clock…

By this time i had met another traveler. She was born in Malasia but lived in Australia, so while she looked local her habits were more Western than mine. We waited together. At 4:30 the bus finally left. We were promised 6 hours until Vang Vieng, but i knew it would take more. We arrived at 1am. Exhausted but not tired. Unlike Europe, where guest houses and hotels have 24 hour reception, here the guest houses are usually run by extended families (or so it seems to me). When you arrive late you have to wake up the person sleeping by the door (usually the father or uncle) to let you in. We took a tuk-tuk to a place i had heard off from a friend, but for some reason the driver stopped on the way and refused to go there. Passing us, a group of Australian/Canadian drunk girls urged us to follow them to their guesthouse. We okay’d and followed. The place they took us to was too expensive and so on we went. The girls disappeared and we came upon a group of Israeli guys. I asked one if he knew any guesthouses. (It was so dark i couldn’t see any of the small ones. The big ones that i could see were the more expensive ones). He said yes and told me to go straight and make a turn there and there. It was confusing and i asked him to show me.

him- No…. i want to go drinking…

me- But it will be a mitzva if you help us…

him- Ah! You’re Jewish? Mitzva… okay

And in a drunken manner, he starting rambling about Rosh Hashana and the way he plans to celebrate it in Luang Prabang and how he is doing a mitzva… He took us to his guest house but there were no rooms available. The boy had an idea – me and my friend can sleep on his (king size) bed, and he will share the other bed with his friend, and tomorrow morning we can go and find a place of our own. We accepted, put our bags down, and went back with him to the bar to meet his friend…

The friend was from Manhattan and was excited to know i lived on 106 street until he realized that i no longer had the place because i chose to give it up rather than sublet it while i traveled. Did it make me less interesting, or something? Then the boy told him about the arrangement and they started arguing in Hebrew. It took this friend about half an hour to decide that we couldn’t stay with them in the room and that it was easy for us to get a guest house for ourselves at 2 in the morning! After this decision, it took them another 20 minutes (of drunken embracing with their friends) to return to the room so we could gather our belongings.

We left and i felt a feeling of shame for this boy. He was so ugly and small, is this why he felt unable to be kind?

Down the road we passed some drunken English. I told them the story and they quickly asserted: “We are English, we are gentleman!” They offered to share their rooms with us if we couldn’t find a place. They even carried our bags. We did find a place, however. And this morning changed to another one closer to the water.


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , .

slow boat… Luang Prabang Caves

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Dina  |  September 27, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I do not want to say anything, only that I read it.


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