Monday, 15 November 2010

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, Laos

Today....Is maintenance day. Again. First up are the valve clearances, seems like only yesterday that I did these but because of the large distances being covered each day, its that time again.

Possibly the most inconvenient of jobs to carry out at the side of the street, but they need to be done so its out with the aluminium jack and off with the rocker covers. A monk from the temple opposite our guesthouse wanders over to see exactly why I'm sat in the gutter. He's fascinated by the whole process and stays to watch.

After this we head off to Vang Vieng, a small city North of the capital Vientianne. This once sleepy village has been thrown well and truly into the tourist spotlight by its picture postcard scenery. Giant jungle covered limestone Karsts line the side of the Nam Song river, tourists flock here to ride down the river in a truck inner tube with a cold beer....Not normally my scene, but seeing as we're passing through the town anyway, I thought it would rude not to at least try it!

The drive from LP to Vang Vieng takes about 6 hours, the scenery is the best yet...Almost beyond words. What a shame that its also the most heavily bombed country in the history of the world.

Once in town a quick glance at the map highlights Laos more recent history - Just across the other side of the street is an old CIA air strip "Lima Site 6". One of many in-country dirt airstrips used by the air carrier "Air America" . (Air America provided both direct and indirect support for CIA operations in Laos between 1962 & 1975 - Ferrying arms, ammunition and people around the country in civilian marked aircraft...)

Vang Vieng is ultra touristy, definitely not our style, after a few beers we head back to our hotel. $8 a night, this country is incredibly cheap. Or is the UK incredibly expensive?.....You be the judge.

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