Lizards and Laos
17.11.2011 - 20.11.2011 30 °C
Well I thought I'd better write some more of this down before I forget something.
We had a lazy day and we booked our bus to laung Parbang, we decided to stop off here for a few days before heading on to Vang Vieng, because we heard it was really good and also because it would cut down the travel time.
I also had to buy a new camera as mine was taking fuzzy photos so we got directions to Panthip plaza, which is like a shopping centre but only for computers an digital cameras an stuff like that in the end which was a long time later I got a pink sony cyber shot for about £45. A new camera was an added expense I could have been doing without but I couldn't have done without a camera plus it was a bit of a bargin when thought I'd have to pay double. We then went to the markets and went to an Irish bar for food were we found baked potatoes on the menu the relief of potatoes was amazing after all the bad food just to be able to have potato an butter!!lol
We then headed home to pack for our long bus journey, we were just chilling out before we got started when I saw something move in the top corner of the room, a lizard!!! We were both freaking out and tried to scare it away by shouting at it and it ran back through a hole in the very corner of the room we didn't even know was there!! Two minutes later when the little frigger was back again and Louise decided she couldn't sleep with it in the room so went to ask the boy at reception to come get rid of it!!! Well his English wasn't very good and when she was trying to tell him what it was (by basically just saying lizard louder and slower!lol) she started to look in a cupboard for something!!! then he said I can't find you look, still don't know what he thought she had said but it was obvious we were on our own with the lizard! So I started to bang th plastic chair which was in our room off the wall to chase it out again but the lizard was getting brave now and kept coming straight back in. I went out side to see if anyone else could help us and two English boys from down the hall were sitting out on the balcony, probably came out to laugh at us banging and screaming!! Anyway we got one of them to chase it out and stand on the chair to block the hole with a plastic bag so it couldn't come in again!! So panic over we were like so, we're Anne and louise thanks for saving us from the lizard!!! They were really nice lads an we stood tlking to them till about half two or three when we eventually decided we better do some packing as the bus was coming at 9am and our room looked like a bomb site!!
The Bus Journey
At about half nine a mini bus turned up for us, it was clean, it was air conditioned, there was plenty of leg room, and we were thinking this is grand we can do this. So we set off and got talking to the boy next to me who was from Dublin and was travelling around Asia on his own and had been there about a month already, so he had us in fits of laughter about things that had happened to him so far and also gave us loads of advice on what to do and not do in the places he had been. So this bus journey was shaping up ok we stopped for lunch in a nice enough place, we stopped at the white temple which was amazing, but me an louise were both wearing shorts so when we went to go in a man handed us a white sheet thing, as we were told be a travel agent earlier we had to cover our shoulders in temples I wrapped it around my shoulders and went to head on, but the little Thai man, started laughing and continued to dress me and put it on me properly, around my waist to cover my legs.... very funny.
So we continued on to the the border were we were basically kicked out off our nice bus and told to go to emigration and then cross the river into laos, well what a handle-in we did't really know how much the visa would be but then some American dude said it was cheaper in us dollars an we all really didn't really know what was going on an we were all carrying our rucksacks and everything. We managed to depart thailand fine in the end and walked down to the river were we loaded all our stuff into this wooden boat and set off across the Me Kong river two minutes later at the other side we entered laos and had to try to get our visas, I was searching in my big bag because my dollars were in there, couldn't find them so had to pay in bhat but Louise didn't have enough, it was all a scrambling match, with no one knowing wat was going on and we were all probably getting ripped off because we were all tourists!
Again we made it through thought that was the worst of it over but oh no, we had to get on a different bus, a coach which was jam packed with seats so there was hardly room to get in the seats and we were separated from the rest of the backpackers as our seat numbers were at the frount of the bus surrounded by thais, that didn't bother me too much, but then there was a man in my seat who was just trying to steal it because it was beside the window and he wanted me to sit beside his wife, I don't think so. In the end we got it sorted and me an louise we sitting together. So this bus was ok a bit of a funny smell, not much leg room but ok, so we set off. The driver started blaring thai music I mean I could hardly read it was so loud, then when it got dark there were no lights and it gets dark over here about 6pm, so were sitting in the dark and the rude man from earlier who tried to steal my seat was now sittin in front of me and reclined his seat back fully and squashed my legs, like I really couldn't move them. A few hours into this journey we stopped for food at basically the side of the road a few people got food which looked awful so we bought crisps and went in search of a toilet, it was one of those eastern ones basically holes in the ground with a bucket of water and a scoop to flush, obviously minging. But with still another 8hrs on the bus it had to be done, and as we were leaving a wee thai women jumped out an said 20,000kip, we didn't even have kipp yet so had to pay in thai bhat probably got ripped off again!!! and then it was back on the bus. The roads we were traveling on were awful, bumpy an we were going up and down mountains with sheer drops at one side i'm glad it was dark so I couldn't see the worst of it. All of a sudden we came along a lorry over turned on the road no idea wat happened but we just sqeezed past which put us even closer to the edge and carried on, so the bus journey is pretty bad at the minute cramped the smell is getting worse the roads are terrible and we just seen an over turned lorry, now our bus starts making funny noises and the driver has to pull over, we were pulled over for about an hour and one the the boys found out there was a problem with the air breaks, great just what we needed going up and down mountain roads. The driver eventually managed to fix it somehow an we where on the road again with just the odd funny noise along the way. Ok this is turning into a small book so basically I think that's all the major events on the bus we arrived in laung Parbang in the end at 8am 22hrs after we had set off and now had to make our way into town and find our hostel an easy task after what we had just managed to live through.
In laung parbang that day we sorted out a trip for the next day, to go biking and kyaking to a water fall, our bus to Vang Vieng and then we got a tuk tuk to another waterfall for a swim! It was really good with a rope swing an a really big pool but there was fish in the pool that tried to eat your feet, didn't really like that. We walked on up the river to the huge waterfall part we're your not allowed to swim and took photos. That night we went out to the night markets and found a side street full of food it was 10,000kip (less than £1)for a plate and you could pick what you wanted from a buffet. This is the first place we've got nice Thai food, and it was great.
The next day we had to be at the travel office at 9am to collect our bikes and meet our guide, we cycled for around 2hours, there was amazing scenery and our guide was lovely he kept telling us we were very lucky we had 'long wings and were able to fly all over the world' kinda felt bad for him when he said he'd never left Laung Parbang, but he was a lovely man and we had great craic with him. Next we had to kayak for 5mins to the water fall well at our rate of going it was more like 15mins but we got there anyway and this waterfall was by far the best so far. You could climb up the waterfall to different pools and there was a rope swing just a really cool place. We spent ages here and gave our guide the cameras so we have some really cool pictures. Lunch was included in our trip but it was noodle soup and wasn't that nice so we picked out some of the noodles and had bananas. We still had the rest of the river to kayak so we set off again, but because this part of the river was quiet it was really hard work and we were not very good, what should have taken us 2hours took us nearly 4 and I'm sure our guide was ready to just leave us there we kept asking are we half way yet?, is it much further?, how much longer? are we nearly there yet?lol but it was really hard work and way too far for beginners to kayak. Right before the end we had to go through some rapids and he was in his own boat an we were in a two man kayak he kept saying 'you must follow me rapids are danger' well he was right it was really hard to follow him and I was supposed to be steering it didn't help when I was telling Louise to row right but I meant left!! It was very scary and then we went in the wrong direction and ended up over at the bank and I nearly got decapitated by a branch and Louise was all for getting out but we had to keep going and we managed the rest of it ok even though it was very stressful.
I'll do another blog with vang vieng and the tubing soon