Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friending @ Vien Vang

It was wonderful to wake up a bit later with no agenda except for dirty laundry. We discovered a great breakfast place doing Kao Tum (congee), chinese donuts and first class coffee not far from we were. You can always tell a good place when there is a large crowd. While enjoying congee, 3 touring bikes ridden by Aussies pulled up and that got us all excited. They were heading for Luang Prabang from Vientiane and we of course, sat down to exchange notes. There is a certain natural camaraderie among touring bikers. Somehow, I felt a tinge sorry for them with the gruesome climbs that lay ahead...

VV is truly a backpacker paradise, with lots of cheap guesthouses, bars, and many opportunities to get stone. The key attraction is to tube down the river in your skimpies and watch DVD re-runs all day long. At least 3 restaurants with mattresses were showing "Friends", the 1990s sit com and being a Friend's fan, I was tempted to lounge with the rest of the crowd. Somehow watching Joey, Racheal, Phoebe, Russ, Monica and Chandler on so many TVs in a country that hardly speaks english was bizzare.

It was common to see many young farang kids just out of uni or high school walking barefooted on the streets in their "next to nothing" swim wear, loud tatoos, beer in hand, shouting and laughing their heads off. Great that they are having fun, not so great for others who prefer some quiet.

We crossed the 6000 kip bridge to the other side of the river and cycled through some dusty villages.

This was the non-touristy section of Vien Vang with cows, rice fields, stray dogs and mountains. As we were taking sunset pics, lo and behold our Belgian friends, Meerteen and Katerin, cycled pass. Their familiar bamboo racks gave them away from a far distance and we made plans to cycle down to Vientiane the next morning. So it looked like another mystery adventure for the Famous Five again.

We enjoyed a fantastic Cambodian hot plate dinner called Ko Lam Phnom (Cow on a Hill) that was absolutely delicious and finished that off with a creamy Latte and a massage. Friending at Vien Vang had been pretty relaxing and fun, mostly.

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