Apologies for not posting in a couple of days! We’ve been without electricity for the past 2 days and before that the wifi was pretty shoddy!
Since my last post we have visited Hanoi (Vietnam) and then onto Laos.
In Hanoi we watched a traditional water puppet show – it was in Vietnamese but luckily they had English fliers with the names of each mini show which helped us understand what was happening. For example, ‘Fisherman’s dance’. Ryan didn’t exactly enjoy himself – he was falling asleep by the end of it (baring in mind it was only a 45 minute show!) but it was an experience nonetheless.
In Hanoi we also visited Hỏa Lò Prison. This prison was used by the French for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for U.S Prisoners of War during the Vietnam war. It was sarcastically known to American Prisoners of War as the Hanoi Hilton and there are photographs in the prison showing them playing cards, football, volleyball etc. The prison was demolished during the 1990s however the gatehouse remains as a museum for tourists.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this airline (not to be stereotypical, but, it was a flight from Vietnam to Laos so my expectations were pretty low) – and I was pleasantly surprised!
The flight was just over an hour long and we were given a sandwich, cake and drink and there was so much leg room! EasyJet please take note..
When we touched down in Vientiane we opted for a day of sightseeing.
We visited Buddha Park which is a sculpture park in a meadow by the Mekong River and contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. There was one statue that you could enter through an open mouth and climb to the top to view the whole park.
After this we visited Pha That Luang, a gold covered Buddhist Stupa in the centre of Vientiane. There were also many other traditional sculptures in the grounds that surround the stupa. I loved how colourful the temples and sculptures were – simply beautiful.
The Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) is based in Vientiane and runs non-profit rehabilitation centres aiming to provide care and support to UXO survivors, including prosthetic devices and physiotherapy.
Learning about the damage that has been left to innocent locals and how COPE are helping those in need was eye opening. On the other hand, there were many prosthetic legs and feet around the visitors centre; and for some reason it made me feel strangely uncomfortable.
The day was a total flop! (In my opinion – many others loved it!)
As many of you know I’m not a lover of the sea/rivers/lakes… But I had done kayaking once before and didn’t die so I thought, why not!
WORST DECISION EVER!
1. The current was ridiculously strong so unless you kayaked regularly you had a very high chance of not being able to control the kayak.
2. Within the first 5 minutes around half of the group hit a rough patch of greenery growing in the middle of the river and we all collided and capsized.
2a. Me and Ryan were included in that ‘half the group’…
2b. When we capsized my shorts got caught on the greenery and were pulling on my stomach as I was being pushed the opposite way by the current and other kayaks. I could not breath and I felt panic take over… Then my shorts ripped off! (Luckily I was left with my bikini bottoms on otherwise this really would have been the worst experience of my life!)
2c. They were my favourite shorts and I am struggling to find any new ones on my travels that fit my butt.
2d. During this ordeal I lost Ryan – I was clinging on for dear life on an upside-down kayak along with another member of our group and couldn’t see him anywhere! When we got back into the kayak, after what felt like forever, I finally saw him ahead in a kayak all by himself.
3. We had 10km to kayak. 6km then stop for lunch, tubing and zip lining, then a further 4km. You can imagine my upset, after capsizing, knowing I had no other option but to kayak the whole way.
4. Ryan capsized over a rock and cut his leg! (Mumma Elaine if you’re reading – he’s fine! Just a cut and a bruise)
Will I be kayaking again?
We also went tubing. This is were you float on rubber rings (tubes) through a cave. The tubing was fun but short lived as the water level was to high to do the normal route.
Ryan couldn’t go tubing either as he had cut his leg. The guide had put some antiseptic liquid on it to stop the bleeding and disinfect the area so he needed to keep his leg dry.
He did, however, do the zip lining. Which he said was really good – I didn’t fancy doing the zip lining. I’ve done Go Ape before and that was too high for me! Ryan took his GoPro with him and he showed me a video of a zigzag bridge he had to walk over – it looked so scary!
The next day we started our journey to Luang Prabang. The road was up, then down and zigzagged between the mountains.
We stopped to use the toilets, buy some snacks and take in the view.
We also saw a fluffy dog which was adorable!
On our walk up the waterfall we also saw some rescue bears including one with an arm missing – he seemed to be enjoying himself, bathing and eating, but it was still sad to see.
After eating we popped to Utopia, a local bar & restaurant that over looks the Mekong River.
There were mats on the floor to lay on and the atmosphere was very chilled.
The boat journey was long; but luckily our group had the boat to ourselves and the sun was shining so we managed to catch some rays.
When we got to the home stay we were told some rules that are followed by the locals that we to need to follow.
The main rule being that men and women are to sleep separately.
Our CEO explained that in their culture it is a sin to sleep together before marriage. If a sin was to happen they would have to make a sacrifice to the gods by killing an animal.
One of the girls then went on to tell us of another group that went to the homestay where a couple had sex. The locals then had to sacrifice a pig due to their sins however with their low income could not afford to buy a pig.
The locals got in contact with the group guide, who contacted the couple, who then had to pay for a pig to be shipped over for the locals to sacrifice. Horrific.
We also met some of the local children and gave them some gifts we had brought with us. The group gave stickers, pencils, colouring books and bracelets.
During the day we saw a local boy playing. He was so happy to play by himself with the mud and a bottle cap – it was adorable!
All the boys stayed together. I stayed with another 3 girls in a locals home. We each had a mat, cover, pillow and mosquito net. All lined up next to each other like sardines.
The toilet was outside the house and didn’t have a lock or a light – this is where my head torch came in handy!
Shockingly, I didn’t get a very good nights sleep!
I was very glad to hear my alarm going off to get up and out of bed (if you can call it that!)
‘Til next time!
Love Bumble x