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We had a day to kill in Vientiane and the weather was cold as ice. You know that listless apathy that prevents you from making decisions and for doing anything with energy. After a fat boy breakfast at the Scandinavian Bakery, where I polished a breakfast platter for 2, I persuaded Muneeza that the weather was going to hold to give us time to scooter down to the Buddha Park about 30km outside the town.
The park sits in a grassy field alongside the Mekong River and is full of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, most in plain stone. I was hooked on the story — I love the impact that one person can have by bringing to life their vision. The journey itself was part of the experience. We passed through small towns on the periphery of Vientiane, with rice fields on both sides. As we neared the Friendship Bridge, the bridge built to provide a land border between Thailand and Laos, the Mekong River emerged on our right hand side.
After the bridge the road deteriorated into a pothole ridden dirt track. The old moped limped across the bumpy road, sounding rather dejected and forlorn. It was Asia Hookup Space Profiles Hair Nail to keep the bike upright as the wheels slipped badly in the muddy tracks.
It was hit and miss if it would start again. It meant I had to keep the rear click here lever pressed Asia Hookup Space Profiles Hair Nail revving the engine — not the safest option.
After about 45 mins, thinking we had taken a wrong turn, the Buddha Park emerged through the trees.
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It was an incredible sight. Huge stone effigies loomed from the treetops. Inside the park, the beauty of the intricate stone masonry on show pleasantly surprised us. The statues come from all across the South East Asia region and from as far back as the 4 th century. One strange edifice offered a path to a rooftop vantage point from which we could look across the whole park.
You entered through the mouth of a large gargoyle and inside we found a narrow passage way. It looked like something from a GCSE pottery class and smelt like the pottery workshop at school. Beyoind the passageway lay an inner chamber, visible through small windows cut in the wall.
From the passageway, we found a series of narrow, steep steps that led up successive levels to the rooftop. On each level the same inner chamber could be found, though the figurines in each were different. Still the same smell of the pottery class. We emerged on the roof from the narrowest of windows. The view was spectacular. Asia Hookup Space Profiles Hair Nail front of us was a panorama of huge Buddhist and Hindu iconography dating back centuries, beyond which was the serene Mekong.
It looked like the Mekong had surged and planted hundreds of statues neatly in the park for a higher purpose. We hopped back on the moped deeply satisfied that we had made the effort to come and see this place. Seeing is believing and it feels like the past 4 days have been partly spent in a moral and spiritual vacuum, inside a bubble of pikey chaos.
The main zone for carnage is down by the Namsong river where hundreds of makeshift bars on wooden platforms adorn both banks. The bars are crowded during the day by the young ones drinking themselves into a delirious stupor. Q Bar is the main hangout and is rammed full of college boys and girls in swimming costumes covered in hand drawn body painting, usually crude phrases. Some learn more here to remember, some drink to forget.
The testosterone is pumping and casual sex is clearly on the agenda for many. The daily routine is for people to turn up and go tubing, here inflated inner tubes that they use to float down the river. Along the way they stop off at the bars and get wrecked.
The see-saw trap was nasty as well — a pit is dug and sharpened bamboo spikes are impaled in the ground. Watch this space for Star Trek-style video visors and a new era of self-service bars. Every morning, they go to the kitchen and have coffee together. No dairy, organic fare, and plenty of avocados: It was her sorry duty to inform us that the stuffed animal pandemic continues.
The day descends into chaos as boys and girls try to out do each other for bragging rights. Many of the bars have water slides and swings, crude inventions that involve perching on precarious platforms high above the water, surrounded by rocks, then hurling yourself forwards and letting go when the water seems deep enough.
By the early afternoon most of the crowd are battered.
Some of the bars also sell happy drinks and food, Asia Hookup Space Profiles Hair Nail with marijuana and mushrooms. The heady concoction of booze and drugs turns the party people into lunatics.
An Aussie chap we met told us of one girl who smashed her head on rocks as she jumped in the water and surfaced unconscious. Some of the boys had to jump in and rescue her before she drowned. Most people here do this day in, day out. Everyday is the same. Everyday involves downing as much cheap battery acid as the body can handle, and sometimes more.
They all http://viphookups.info/date-hookup/9292m-dating-9292s.php up staggering back into town from the late night bars about click here and then wake everyone else up by slamming doors, screaming and having all-night parties until they come down and the buzz has gone. Yes, that is bitterness.
She had stumbled drunk into a flight of wooden steps and twisted it badly. I was too hung-over to deal with the crap she was talking and people like her are too stupid to reason with. I tried the swings from one of the more serene bars but I was sober so could exercise caution and judgment. You fall from at least 20 feet above the water and you click the following article to keep your wits about you because there are patches of rock and shallow water, so timing is everything.
To do this drunk and high as a kite is extremely dangerous and explains the high number of injuries and annual death count. Babysitting incoherent 18 year-old college kids is no longer my thing, so we booked a few trips out to see the local area. The town is nestled between incredible mountains that rise sharply and look like the rippled back of a huge dragon.
The climate is generally warm and sunny, though the mountains sometimes throw in a rash of clouds that makes it pleasingly temperate. Luckily our local guides were really cool and most of them spoke good English so we could find out more about the area. The cave entrance was just high enough to fit under without having to duck. Inside was dark and endless.
The cave was about 10ft wide and 6ft high above the water level. After a few minutes I decided enough was enough.
It was going to take 1hr to Asia Hookup Space Profiles Hair Nail through the cave system and back out into the light, so I opted to stay back and wait. After a huge lunch surprisingly good for a tour company we took a brief trip to Elephant Cave, a huge cave where some of the limestone formations resemble elephant trunks and heads.
Muneeza and I shared our own double kayak and we all set off in the afternoon sun. The journey down the river was amazing and incredibly tranquil — no teenage drunks in sight. We got dragged quickly into the trees and towards more info rocks and the kayak flipped.
Still, we had a good laugh at our malco efforts. This time we opted for the mountain trekking and left early on Monday morning. It is low season here and there was only one other person on the trip, a lovely English girl called Maddy from Farringdon. Our guide, Sipsong, spoke good English and led us off down a source path towards the mountains. The first part of the trek saw us climb sharply upwards on perilous rocks and slippery mud.
After 40mins we hit the plateau and were rewarded with beautiful views through the valleys. Though slightly smaller than we had anticipated, the waterfall was in a secluded place and was miles from the sounds of modern life.
We had the place to ourselves and after a few minutes sizing up the rocks, I dived in to the rather fresh water. Sipsong whipped us up a BBQ and we stuffed ourselves on chicken kebabs and fried rice. Somewhat reluctantly we headed off to make the return leg of the trip. Instead of climbing over the mountains, this time we went straight through them. It was time for me to face my nemesis, the enclosed space of an underground cave.
The Hoy Cave runs right through the mountain. The entrance is huge but it soon tapers down to a narrow corridor that is eerily quiet. Sipsong led the way with a huge flaming bamboo stick. It reminded me of the scene from Lord of the Rings where Gandalf uses his staff to illuminate the underground passage.
Thankfully we emerged 10mins later unscathed and I breathed a huge sigh of relief and wiped away the nervous sweat.
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On one side you have huge valley floors dominated by farming land and intersected by the rushing river. On the other side, immense mountains whose inverse cliff faces loom over you as a stark reminder of your insignificance. We met the truck on the far side of the river and had to pass by the start of the bars where all the crazy things are. It was the difference between a world I love and a world that I no longer relate to.
He had just about the same amount of All-Clad. But when the movies come on and the cabin is darkened, the results are not always pleasing. Born to prosperous landowners, he won a scholarship to Paris where he became embroiled in link Communist movement and started to develop radical Marxist philosophies. Chimpanzees bond over shared meals Philly.
Been there, got the t-shirt! Vang Vieng is a fun place, no doubt about it. You can really have a good time here. However, there are too many idiots who will test the patience. We headed back to Vientiane on Tuesday 29 th by bus with 1 day left to enjoy Laos before moving on to KL enroute to Sumatra, Indonesia.
We more info from Saigon on Tuesday 22 nd and after a brief stop over in Pakse to get the visa, landed in the capital city of Vientiane early afternoon.
Laos is land-locked and sits between Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with China dominating its Northern borders. Laos dallied with nationhood first in the 14 th century when warlord Fa Ngum, backed by the Khmer, conquered Wieng Chan modern day Vientiane. Fa Ngum gave his kingdom the romantic title of Lan Xang Land of a Million Elephants and adopted Theravada Buddhism as the state Asia Hookup Space Profiles Hair Nail, which is still the dominant religion today. As with its neighbours, Laos has suffered from foreign interference, especially from France and the US.