After Vientiane I stopped in (and still am in Vang Vieng). This place is known for the absurd tubing that goes on! You rent a tube, get a tuk tuk to the starting point and begin tubing down the river, not forgetting to stop at each of the bars for a free shot and trying out the ridiculous contraptions such as swings that have been set up as fun little diversions on your way! Once you are done drifting, and if it is before 6pm, you get your tube deposit back! This will be for tomorrow! I initially thought that the wild and drunken westerners would be polluting the Lao culture, however with the amount of drinking that has been going on here by Lao people, I have changed my mind. Maybe this is due to the Lao new year but I am unsure! I was invited out by the owner of the guesthouse I am staying at and her family to celebrate the new year, so I went! ...and there we sat, on small stools with our feet in the Mekong River, eating prawn-flavored crackers, spicy food, french fries and drinking lots of beer! All the while, we were splashing and being splashed by overly intoxicated Lao citizens celebrating the new year! The fact is, for these three days if you do not want to get wet, then you are better off not even leaving the house. Due to the culture and the heat, it is tradition to soak any thing or person that appears to be in the slighest bit dry. This is accomplished through super soakers, water balloons, buckets, hoses and whatever the multi-aged and cultured crowd participating in the festivities can find! People attack from the streets and from vehicles as well!
After the tubing madness that is to come, I will be entering an elegant French town in the North called Luang Prabang!
Random Fact: Vang Vieng has a slew of restuarant and guesthouses which are not only affordable, but play endless loops of Friends and Family Guy! I feel more at home here than many other spots! :)