people here love to say, “same same”, always. it’s even on the t-shirts here, and i didn’t understand that until i really spent some time here. power out? same same. rain? same same. lazy day on the river, another beer? same same. but always different.
today is the same as yesterday. a lazy day waiting for the monsoon rain to pass. the “different” of today was electricity, a blessing in the rain. i ate breakfast watching the end of Spiderman and then, walking tall (awful movie) and then, man on fire again. lazy days here…
but i did not watch friends today. see, this town (it’s really not a city: it only has 2 roads, partially paved and a deserted airstrip in the middle) is known for it’s constant showing of friends episodes. for some reason, restaurants here will play season after season, everyday, and people sit there for hours watching. a different episode everywhere – pick the one you want. i find it crazy that people would spend their time here doing this, especially when it’s sunny.
aside from the river and watching friends, there is nothing to do in this city. i spent the first day being lazy on the river, inner tubing (une grosse trippe noir, comme au quebec!) on the river. you start upstream, and go down with the current, and stop along the way for jumps, zip lines and beer. people spend hours sometimes at a pit stop, drinking, listening to Bob Marley and jumping in the water. in all, it took us about 4-5 hours to go down the small section of the river…
the next day we went kayaking, a good 20 km run down the river. we stopped at two caves along the way, elephant cave which is supposed to be the best but was really nothing and the water cave, which was really neat. the cave is filled with water, on you jump in a tube with a helmet and a flashlight and follow the rope into the cave. the ceiling is really low, so you keep hitting your head and the further you go in, the darker it gets until there’s nothing possible left to see. a little scary if you were there on your own I’m sure! you keep trying to open your eyes wider but it does nothing. after a BBQ, we went back onto the river and then stopped at the jump stops for a while. it was pretty funny though going down river, because in the rapid sections you really got big drops and waves that went over you. quite refreshing! i had a local guy directing my kayak and he wouldn’t paddle much, so i had to do most of the work… and he wasn’t even really directing the boat: he got us to hit branches and trees even though i was yelling at him to watch out. but heck! it was fun.
I’ve met a good bunch of people here, it’s quite nice after Luang Prabang and it makes for really fun evenings. we keep eating by candle light lately because of the power outages… good thing the kitchens here work with coal stoves!
tomorrow i am off to Vientiane for 3 nights or so, and then i am off to Hanoi in Vietnam! i cannot wait!!! but i will miss the Lao french baguettes… can someone tell me if they have baguettes everywhere in Vietnam as well???
And by the way, get a hold of the view from my hotel!!!