It turns out that kayaking for 12 dollars included a few other things in Vang Vieng. We started by going through a cave. Not just your ordinary cave, it’s kind of hard to explain. We got in mini tubes and entered the cave floating on water. We pulled ourselves through the cave using rope that is tied to the wall. The gap from the water to the roof of the cave is on average 4-7 feet so it was super claustrophobic. Really cool experience though, felt like I was some kind of cave explorer guy or something. Our group was a bunch of extremely European French guys wearing speedos and they reminded me of our group of friends, they even had a guy called Omár that they all made fun of like Danny. After that we trekked to the Elephant cave and ate lunch which consisted of kebabs and rice. Then we got into kayaks and went down the river, stopped at a few outdoor bars and played volleyball. We went back to Vang Vieng and went for dinner. Later that night we went to our usual spot, Gary’s Irish pub and met two nice Dutch girls from Holland, named Unicorn and Anook. I’m still not sure if that was their real names. We finally made it back to our hotel around 2:00 a.m. We planned to go tubing with the girls at 11:30 but we slept in. We spent the day mostly watching “How I Met Your Mother” in the Central Backpackers lobby for hours, eating, playing ping pong, Alex breaking the table, and more eating.
While in Laos I ate sticky rice with every meal, sometimes every day. It is incredibly good and I’m going to sorely miss it. The other thing incredibly good here are the street vendor pancakes with Nutella and banana! We’ve been eating a lot of those as well as stir fried chicken with cashew and vegetables a lot. My stomachs been okay until yesterday. Also the actual physical travelling ended up being very expensive and we had to buy 110+ dollar plane tickets to Phuket because it was just as much money to take two buses and a boat to get there, and took an hour instead of 2 days. Unfortunately at this point I need you guys to somehow figure out how to cash my cheque that dad hopefully picked up at the beginning of the month because I am not going to have enough money. Thailand has been much more expensive than Laos, especially for hotels, it’s difficult to even find 20 bed fan dorm rooms for less than 10 dollars a night. Thailand is also much more busy and overwhelming than Laos, no matter where you are, and the only laws that exist are drug laws and theft. Here you often see up to 4 people on a single motorbike, babies or adults or kids, no helmets and doing 110 km’s on the highway. The most surprising thing to me is that there are almost no accidents and I’ve only seen 4 ambulances in total since being here. I almost wish I lived here, it makes home seem like a pathetic joke with a bunch of stupid laws and everyone worrying too much about everything and spending ridiculous amounts of money on things that cost 10 cents to make in sweatshops.
However to end this email on a positive note, it is nothing like anyone made it out to be here. I have not once felt like I was in any kind of danger, (except for one cab driver who broke 200 km/hr on the highway and was swerving between cars). But other than that the only overwhelming thing is that EVERYONE and ANYONE wants to sell you something. Yesterday at a street vendor they were selling 6 inch knives, brass spiked knuckles, and legitimate ninja shurikens. It’s incredible to me how different the culture is, how they realize that violence isn’t necessary, respect exists here instead of just admiring all the rich old white guys at home living on the ridge in Edgemont. Even simple things like not breaking arcade machines, or trying to seem tough by wearing your hat sideways staring everyone down because you think you are a badass, and getting tribal tattoos.
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