So, shockingly, I can be a bit of a micromanager. I generally have multiple “to do” lists of varying categories. I know how I like things done- most efficently-though I will now conceed there are many “right” ways to do something. Anyway, the point is that I sometimes have a hard time just sitting and relaxing. Just ask Grater. Even when traveling, I’ve got things to do and places to see. So, on my list of things to do, I wrote “chill the fuck out!” Yes, I scheduled in my relaxing, even in Laos.
But if there’s a place to relax, it’s Vang Vieng. It’s mainly known for it’s caves, tubing, the landscape that reminds me of El Capitan in Yosemite and endless episodes of Friends playing in the bars and restaurants. While it’s caves are, well, cavernous and stop-you-in-your-tracks beautiful, tubing is jarring in its dissonace to the local culture. In Laos I take off my shoes and cover myself with a scarf to enter the temples. Even on the streets you don’t see local females above the age of 10 in shorts and tank tops. It’s a fairly conservative, but very friendly, Buddhist country. Yet the tourists that partake in the tubing are so far from this metality I’m not sure how the locals deal with it. I suppose the money helps. Anyway, tubing entails renting an inner tube, piling in a tuk tuk, getting taken 4 km upriver and then floating back to town. Floating back to town, stopping every 200 meters at the riverside bar. Floating back to town and being so wasted by the time you get back you walk around town barefoot and just in your swimsuit buying all the food and additional BeerLao you can manage. On one hand it’s a great source of income but on the other I can’t imagine it doesn’t get old. But, waking as I do before 11am, I pretty much have the town to myself, other than the odd older German or French couple… so that’s nice!
Anyway, I think I’m getting the hang of this relaxing thing. I’ve been chillin in the hammock next to my bungalow, walking to the organic farm, exploring the stunning caves, finding the only cafe in town that plays Family Guy instead of Friends, reading, enjoying the scenery and not tubing.