Posts tagged ‘vang vieng’

Roaches

My last night in Vang Vieng was spent outside with a cat. Just kidding, it wasn’t as extreme as that.

I returned to my room in Nam Song Garden guest house (nice place if you guys are curious) and started doing my bed time routine. Popping pimple, washing, etc. It didn’t take long to notice the strange bugs on the wall. I couldn’t decide if they were spiders or mosquitoes stuck in a spider’s web. It had been raining all day and the netting on top of the wall that kept bugs out had broke, so i figured they must have come in through that. After imagining several dozen new mosquito bites in the morning and a case of malaria i convinced myself that it was okay and i should just go to sleep. Then i saw him!

He was sitting on my towel in the bathroom, his whiskers gently moving. I started to have anxiety… I couldn’t imagine a way to move this giant roach out of the bathroom successfully. I needed to find someone to do it because i couldn’t sleep with him so close to me! (I couldn’t shut the door to the bathroom because there is no door) I went outside. Then back in. Maybe he had dissapeared. But no he was still there, cleaning himself or eating or something. I thought of ways to catch him. I grabbed a plastic bag. I took a few more walks outside. I turned on the light outside. I hope that the Norwegien owner of the house would wake up or that i would see some one outside. The house cat was sleeping and i sat next to him, carressed him roughly a few times, and returned to my room. I realized i could go down the road to some guys i knew, but if they came they would definetely make a lot of noise and wake everyone up. I didn’t want that. I thought of what a baby i was being and decided to wrap myself in my sleeping bag and just sleep.

As soon as i got inside the bag and closed it i heard a noise on the bed. I imagined rats like the ones i had seen in the afternoon for sale at the market, before they were killed and skinned. I didn’t want to sleep with rats. I took my cell phone which was next to me (i use it as an alarm clock) and turned it on. Using the light from it i did a survey of the bed. And what i saw next to me, on the other pillow, gave way to my impusle to scream…. and i did. It seemed to take a long time to unwrap myself out of the sleeping bag and by the time i did the Norwegien and his Lao wife were at the door asking what i had seen. “A spider?” he asked with a sense of humour. “No!!!! A giant roach on the pillow looking at me!”

He killed the roach on the towel in the bathroom and flushed him down the toilet (it was unfortunate, because as ugly as he was i didn’t want him killed). But we couldn’t find the roach on the bed. Maybe i imagined him, i don’t know….

 

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Now i’m in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It’s very hot. I am staying with someone through couchsurfing. He lives 15 minutes (by bicycle) outside the city center, away from the tourists. He is nice and i’m glad i decided to couchsurf here, but i miss the noise and nightlife that comes with tourists. So tomorrow or the day after i will find a room here in the center. I need to stay in Vientiane until Monday at least because that’s when my visa for Vietnam will be ready. I went to the embassy today and guess how long the application process took? 5 minutes!

So now i have 17 days left in Laos. I think i will go by overnight bus to Pakse (south of Laos) on the 6th, and then make my way further south to the island known as “A thousand islands” and then head by busses to the north, making stops along the way. On the 19th i plan to be back in Vientiane and take a flight to Hanoi. The bus ride to Hanoi from Vientiane is about 24 hours, and i promised myself during my first trip abroad when i took Eurobus around Europe that i will never make long trips by bus if i can avoid it ever again.

 

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My host has a television and last night he was watching a news program that had news from all over the world. They even had a segment on baseball and it was so similar to the kind of baseball news i would have seen had i been in New York, i missed home.

October 2, 2008 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Caves

Today we went to the caves by bike. We swam in a lagoon and then made our way through what seemed like a jungle (it wasn’t. It was a rice paddy amidst mountains) to the cave. Someone had to stay and watch the bags while the others swam through the cave. I volunteered. It started thundering and raining and the 15 year old guide ushered everyone out of the cave. We made our way back to the little hut grocery store run by the guide’s parents. They offered us bananas and sticky rice. I played with a small cat. The boy made a fire and we exchanged a few English words. When the rain was minimal, we got on our bikes and went back the 40 kilometers to town. It was a really nice day spent with good people.

 

ps. A lot of people come to this town to get f-d up. But there’s so much more to it. The mountains are beautiful. My favorite times have been driving down the dirt roads surrounded by trees, mountains, and sky. During these times i feel a sense of fulfillment i rarely ever feel. That, and i love the dance scene. I love dancing to electronic music in the open air with welcoming people! In New York, the club scene is mostly a downer. Here it’s <3

September 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm 2 comments

Vang Vieng

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.

September 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm 1 comment


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