However misleading the names are, we wouldn't trade these experiences for anything else! Happy Pizza did make us happy, at least before we got paranoid, and the Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng was.. well, not quite what we expected ;D
Vang Vieng, the town
Don’t expect anything fancy like Ho Chi Minh, Bali or even Phuket. It’s a very small town, dusty, and I didn’t see anything built with traditional Lao style and ornament whatsoever, it wasn’t a cultural trip in the artsy sort of way. Entering the town welcomed by the natural village scenery with limestone karsts as the backdrop, I remember feeling excited to finally get there!
|Entering Vang Vieng
The streets were rather empty in daylight. Approaching night, tourists start to sprawl on the streets and make the town much livelier. Looks like tourism takes a big portion of the pie in their economy (speaking like a true economist).
Restaurants, shops, tour agents were open all day long. Sandwich kiosks are easily spotted on the sidewalk as well as other snacks and small colorful buckets for drinking beer at the clubs and parties. And it was where I saw people riding motorbikes with one hand holding an umbrella because the day was hot and sunny. I didn't know they could do that! I thought the wind would blow the umbrella unbalanced!
|Dry and dusty.
|The ubiquitous sandwich kiosks
The restaurants in Vang Vieng are awesome. A lot of them would show reruns of Family Guy and Friends, played on DVD player. So just pick a restaurant based on your preferred sitcom, eat while watching and straighten your legs (and maybe nap) for a while. Life is so good in Vang Vieng!
As for the food, they have a lot of Italian menu, like pizza and pasta, aside from other western menu and the Laotian ones.
* The food are yummy and only cost LAK 30,000 / person / meal on average. Well, if you’re a big Caucasian guy you might eat double that.
|Family Guy is playing in the monitor while Mumun's busy updating tweets for you tweeps
|A Laotian curry soup
Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng.. Or May I Say Creek?
A postcard we found in a bookstore in Vientianne showed this beautiful natural site called Blue Lagoon and it’s located in Vang Vieng. That definitely got in our itinerary! We imagined it to be just like what seemed in the picture: a blue lagoon or lake in the forest, sort of like a hidden paradise.
And that’s the danger of perception and expectation.
It’s a famous tourist site in Vang Vieng, the tuktuk driver knew where it was and charged us LAK 30,000 /pax for return ride. The route was mostly on bumpy dirt road through the countryside with dry paddy and limestone karst view. The soothing blowing wind didn’t die down our excitement for Blue Lagoon!
|On our way to Blue Lagoon
About 30 minutes later we arrived to grassland turned parking lot. Tuktuks and motorbikes were parked there, and we started to hear people’s voices indistinctly. “Oh, is this where the driver should park and wait for us while we get in to the forest?” we wondered. I was gonna ask the driver but..hm, it was hard negotiating the tuktuk fare already cos he didn’t understand English much.
We decided to join the crowd anyway. Caucasians – who must be tourists – were sitting around and on tree branches above something that we would normally call a creek. Hmm.
“Is this it?” one of us asked, but of course none of us could answer.
And as we got closer to the creek, we were sure that that was the Blue Lagoon we saw on the postcard. It’s got the same tree branches, swings and the water was bluish. It just wasn’t a lagoon at all. We didn’t know what to say, we just laughed at the situation..!
Dude, they really got us! Hahaha… we were fooled by the postcard! It was a picture perfect postcard indeed..!!! But not as perfect in real life. Yes, it was blue, unlike most creeks I've seen anywhere, but still..it was no lagoon!
We Indonesians should learn how to promote our creeks and whatnots a lot from the Laotians.. LOL
But oh well, we enjoyed the creek anyway. The Blue Creek. The water was c-c-c-c-ccold..! Even for the tourists who are used to colder weather and water. As Mumun and Uci were hiking up a cave nearby, I was swimming and swinging in the water with Vindhya. We’re too chicken shit to jump off of the branches into the water. I’d rather do your dishes for a whole month than jumping off. But later on Mumun jumped, woohoo! She must be making up for the time at Green Canyon.. teehee.
The fun wasn’t only about the the so-called lagoon. We bought some food and had a picnic and then played takraw with a local guy, and chit chatted with some local ladies. Check me out kicking the ball!
|I totally sucked at this game, I made the guy run for the ball too many times cos I kicked it
here there and everywhere :P
|Mats were provided at the location
Happy Pizza and the Fear of Human Trafficking
Mumun and I have tried ‘happy pizza’ in Pnom Penh a few years ago. But I didn’t feel a slight of ‘happiness’ after eating the pizza. So I thought, why not try it again while there were so many diners with this happy menu. So, as the shiny happy people that we were, *cough* we ate the pizza along with other food in this randomly picked restaurant downtown.
|What you have to bear when eating with bloggers: take picture before you eat the food
|Mac & chili & cheese... Slurp!
Picture courtesy of Vindhya
The thing is, I felt happy even before dinner. And when there’s Mumun around, there’s always laughing whether things are funny or simply stupid. So we didn’t realize that the moments got funnier and funnier until for a second I was talking to Mumun and we were staring at each other, and for some reason we were pointing at each other with our faces close to each other (not as romantic as it may sound). And that moment we realized..it has hit us! The effect got heavier and heavier, man I’m telling you it’s good stuff! Until finally..we got paranoid. *I’m actually trying not to laugh as I’m typing this*
We were 4 girls in a stranger’s land whose language we don’t speak. We were aware that human trafficking is an issue in poor Asian countries and we had been mentioning it in our jokes. Yeah, I know it’s disrespectful :( So, getting high in a restaurant at night full of strangers, exposed because our table was right next to the sidewalk, is really a bad idea. Once we realized that the pizza ingredients was playing trick on us, we couldn’t help ourselves but feeling paranoid. We made sure that our passports and money were safe. Mumun and I tried so hard to keep awake and as sober as we could. Uci was hopeless, she had fallen asleep, truly enjoying the happiness of the pizza. That's one kid we had to care of, us being older n' all. Vindhya was the most sober one, so she practically took care of us. She even scolded the waitress and the cook for putting too much weed in the pizza. We asked for ‘happy’ and they gave us ‘very happy’. Right on. I saw the worried face on the waiter and waitress seeing us high and angry at the same time. LOL... we must have looked stoopeed!!
|Evil comes in many forms, my friend.
After attempts to sober up by drinking milk – at least we tried – we decided to go back to the hostel. We figured we’d feel safer there and we wanted to sleep badly. There was even another paranoia with the tuktuk we got on. I was the only one who knew the way to the hostel from the main road. When the tuktuk turned left to a dark alley, which actually another way to get to the hostel, I responded frantically that he was supposed to go straight further and THEN make a left. Already paranoid, Mumun and Vindhya yelled at the driver as well, telling him to go straight. We were really angry at him for a reason that we can only laugh at now...Hahahaah…
Man, we really learned our lessons. Honestly, it wasn’t my first weed, I had tried it before but nothing really ever happened and this time it was like striking gold. But the bad kind. And since then, we can never talk about human trafficking the same way ever again :(
I’m really sorry for all the tasteless jokes I’ve made on the topic. Really sorry.
And what happened next in Vang Vieng? Where’s the tubing story? Did someone had sex and created an earthquake? *Gasp!* Catch the stories…on the next post!