Why are those guy's eyes so red? Why is that girl dressed only in a thong in the middle of town, on a Tuesday afternoon? Why do I hear the voices of Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey blaring out of every speaker?
'Why', you ask? Well, it is because you find yourself in the rather awake town of Vang Vieng, Laos. Awake as in: "OMG, I HAVN'T SLEPT IN THREE DAYS SINCE I TOOK THAT PILL THAT TUK TUK DRIVER GAVE ME!", or 'awake' as in a drunken (British) bitch brawl over a pair of denim shorts - which ended with one of the girls involved, ripping her shorts off and stomping back to her hostel in nothing but her thong and the monsoon rain dripping on her bare arse. Classy. Yes, Vang Vieng is full of stoners, druggies and drunkards. You must ask yourself; why, but oh why, would one travel to such a godforsaken place. Well, there simply are two reasons: 1. Cheap booze (and for those who are druggies, cheap drugs). 2. Tubing.
On the first point: drugs are so readily available in Vang Vieng that one can order off the happy menu. This menu is placed on your table in most bars and offers weird choices ranging from 'magic mushroom garlic bread' to an 'opium milk shake'. Georgina and I spent an evening watching a group of what we thought were good looking guys, ordering off the 'Happy Menu'. Let me tell you, after a magic mushroom pizza and god knows what else, these guys had turned from 'fitties' to babbling baby boys swaying to dubstep beats, with their hands in the air and their eyes the size of serving platters. Also, oddly, next to us sat, what looked like a couple of English teachers in their early fifties sipping a 'shroom shake'.... oh dear. I suggest approaching these bars and happy menus with caution as bars do tip off the police who make a bonus on busting youths...so if you do ever decide to go to Vang Vieng, be cautious.
Now secondly, tubing. How can I explain tubing to you gap yah novices? They give you a large rubber ring (tube), scribble numbers on your wrist, sit you down in a tuk tuk with other westerners, drive you to a place up stream on the Nam Song River, chuck you out of the tuk tuk, place you in a tube and send you downriver. People at bars then throw ropes at you, in order to fish you OUT of aforementioned river to then get you pissed/wasted/sloshed/off your bloody face/drunk. They do things like thrust bottles of whiskey in your mouth, which really is a form of alcoholic rape, if there ever was one, especially to a person such as myself whose stomach shudders at the very thought of the amber drink - or in my dictionary: godmother of vomit.
The bars also have various attractions, which seem to be particularly popular with the testosterone fuelled male drunk. They are, generally, slightly dangerous attractions such as a tiled water slide which leads onto the heads of people tubing, a giant air-filled pillow on which to jump onto and slide into the water (that is the idea, but I know of three casualties resulting from this activity). You can also just swing yourself off the bar and hope you land in a rather non-shallow end of the river - but hey ho the fun's in the risk eh? What is especially fun, I find, is the general glazed over look on the face of the guy trying to impress me by jumping off the bar decking. No you douche-bag, I will not sleep with you if you jump off a platform into a river, particularly as you are at risk of turning yourself into human mush. Whatever happened to romance here boys? Also, 'motor boating' isn't a way into a woman's heart, just a way to involuntarily fondle her breasts, with your nose, what gain there is in that, I do not know. Just to say.
But to be honest I am not surprised that men/boys in Vang Vieng react this way to women/girls, when looking at the calibre of some of the females available. One English girl had 'Je suisse un chien' written across her stomach which loosely translates to "I Switzerland a dog". Yes love, how very cosmopolitan of you to express yourself in such a complex foreign tongue, shame you lost your dictionary on the way downriver, you seem to have lost your clothing at the same time.
ANYWAY. Tubing in Vang Vieng seems to be a sort of rite of passage for the youth of today and I daresay that Georgina and I did this rite proud - seeing as we didn't die. FYI, only one pot-head a year dies tubing in Vang Vieng. Yay for tubing!