Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tubing Spring Break Style

I thought about skipping Vang Vieng altogether, but so many people told me how much fun it was and I didn't want to miss out. It's sole tourist attraction, at least that I saw, is tubing down a river, albiet with very beautiful scenery. But it isn't like any tubing I've done before. I imagined a scene much like it was in my college town, everyone floats down the river with a six pack of beer, actually quite relaxing. Definitely not the same!

There wasn't really much tubing. More just attempting to get from one side of the very strong river to the other quickly to get to the next bar. In order to do this you had to be pulled into the next bar by a rope that had a plastic bottle attached to the end they threw to you. This seemed like a great idea until they hit you in the head with that full plastic bottle.  Once in the bar they hand you a free shot of whiskey, one especially dangerous bar had a bottle of whiskey sitting on a table in the middle of a bar of which you could take as many shot of as you wished. It was like spring break multiplied. Don't get me wrong, tons of fun, but getting into a raging river on a tube after a few too many drinks doesn't sound like the safest option.

I hooked up with a group of girls and we all agreed to watch out for each other on the way down the river. All went according to plan until it got dark. We all agreed to get out of the river and get a tuk tuk back rather than risking it. It was dark and crowded, three of us found each other, but we couldn't find the last girl. After much searching with no luck we decided the girl must have gotten out further down and we would find her back in town. It took a couple hours but thankfully she did make it back. She was pretty scratched up from fighting her way up the bank of the river, but she had found another person and they were able to pull themselves in together.

I'd heard statistics from people about deaths on the river, but I didn't know what to believe. Three days after I left Vang Vieng I met a tour guide who received his statics directly from the embassies. Turned out there had been six deaths in the four days prior to me tubing down the river. In the end it turns out I'm either too old or I think too much to really enjoy the tubing in Vang Vieng. I am happy I did it so that I don't regret having not done it, but I would never do it again.

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