Saturday, 22 January 2011

Vang Viang isn't very nice ... but Pandora's great

Saturday 22nd January 2011

MP3 track of the day: Becoming one of the people - Avatar

Weather: Cold in the morning and evenings ... very warm in the middle of the day

Fabien was moving on today and so Joe, Rachael and I were ready at 8:00am to have breakfast with him before saying farewell. We went to a local bakery where I had a lovely chocolate muffin and a not so great hot chocolate. Whilst eating breakfast I couldn't help but glance at the TV located to my right; it was showing 'sky sports' and there was an advertisement for the Malaysian GP in April. I watched the advert and was amazed when the price of the race tickets came up; the cheapest race ticket was thirty ringgit (£6). My brain went into F1 mode; as the Malaysia GP is in early April I should be within southern China by then; I bet I could get cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur, for the race, and then fly back to China. I would have to check if I can get a multiple entry Chinese visa however I was very tempted to investigate the situation further.

Rachael hadn't been feeling well for a while now and so after breakfast her, and Joe, went back to sleep; Fabien caught his bus and so I decided to updated my blog and go through my photos of Phonsavan before meeting Joe and Rachael for dinner. We headed to a restaurant overlooking the river. The view was beautiful and the other side of the river looked more appealing than the town we found ourselves in; we decided that within the late afternoon we would head over the bridge to our left and investigate. For now Rachael wanted to chill for a hour and so I went and searched the town.

An hour was all I needed; I saw two temples situated at each end of the main high street. The area between these two temples consisted of guesthouses, bars playing American TV and shops ... it didn't take me long to realize that Vang Viang could be twinned with Bendorm ... its that nice. As I returned from my depressing walk I found 'SpicyLao'; a 'no vacancy' sign was hanging outside the door which was a little upsetting. There wasn't anyone around when I got there and so I didn't stay long.

I met Rachael and Joe at the guesthouse and we headed to the river. We crossed a dodgy wooden bridge (held in place by bamboo poles) and followed signs to a cave. At first we went through farming fields; in the background were the same type of mountains that we saw yesterday on our mini-van ride. We followed the path, which 'S' bended through these fields, to the start of the mountain range. Straight in front of us was a sign to the caves (which would have cost 10,000 kip to enter) and to the right was a path that went straight through more vegetation and towards the foot of the mountains themselves ... we decided to take the path.

As we walked through the trees, the hole area reminded us of 'Pandora' from James Cameron's 'Avatar' ... without the ground lighting up as you walked ... and without all the animals ... and without the native people but apart from that the area was just like Pandora, simply beautiful. We walked through the vegetation to the foot of the mountain range. There was a cave here too, which you could see for free, but alas it was closed.

The time was 5:30pm and the sun was going down. As we had reached the end of the path we decided to head for home, back through Pandora. Once out into the fields we looked back at the mountains to find a beautiful red sunset; I tried to photograph it but the photo didn't look anything like what I was seeing in front of me. I gave up, making a mental note of the time of day so that, maybe tomorrow, I'll head back to this location with my tri-pod ... that should help.

We got back to the guesthouse at 6:30pm. We decided to go for something to eat around 8:00pm and so I spent the ninety minute gap surfing the net. The two Belgium girls – who had been on a bike ride today – decided to joined us for something to eat. After this we were all pretty tired; as the two Belgium girls were off tomorrow they went straight to sleep whereas Joe, Rachael and I watched a couple of episodes of the cartoon 'Farsight' which was pretty funny. I then went to my room and feel straight to sleep.

Tomorrow the plan is to, maybe, see the famous 'tubing site' (but I aint having ago) before coming back into the town and getting ready to move onto Vientiane, Laos' capital, the following day. Vang Viang isn't very nice, it's a town where white people get drunk and make us all look bad. The terrain around Vang Viang however is superb.

Toodle Pip!

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