Vang Vieng

We’ve arrived in Vang Vieng after two days riding north from Vientiane.

Yesterday we rode a flat 70 kilometers to Phonhong and stayed in a hovel where the room came with a free pair of women’s underwear hanging in the bathroom. Sarah joked that it was an air-freshener, but the fact that there were also several phone numbers scribbled on the wall made us pretty sure we were staying in a brothel. The only visitor we had all night though was a little boy who opened the door, yelled “Hello”, and ran off. It must have been a dare from his friends.

Today’s ride was a lot hillier, but still not mountainous. We woke up early and ate our prison rations of bread and water before setting off. Like a true prisoner, Sarah saved a small piece of bread for later. She wasn’t going to eat it herself though. The entire time we have been cycling in Asia, Sarah has been dying to pet the livestock on the road. It’s a little known fact that Sarah has an addiction to petting zoos. Riding through these rural areas where the farm animals roam free has been a giant tease for her. Today she decided to try to lure the cute little things to her with food. It didn’t work though. Both the cows and the goats she tried to befriend shied away from her. Maybe she’ll have better luck with the ducks.

It is amazing how rustic life is here. Today we saw men making baskets by hand and women weaving cloth on handlooms. There are also two popular games people play during the day here in Laos. One looks a lot like bocce ball, and the other is like volleyball, but you are not allowed to use your hands: only your head and feet.

After 75 kilometers, we crossed a river and entered the Vang Vieng district. The river was full of people fishing with nets and poles. We stopped to watch for a few minutes but no one caught anything. It must have been productive though because the storefronts in the little town on the river were full of dried fish products.

After that, it was a flat 10 kilometers to the town of Vang Vieng. The town is right on the Nam Song river and is surrounded by a striking karst landscape. It really is beautiful. Vang Vieng is also a very popular backpackers hangout. This is the town you may have heard of where all the cafes play Friends and The Simpsons 24 hours a day. Ugh!

We plan to rest and enjoy the scenery in Vang Vieng for one day and then start the real climbing to Luang Prabang.

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