Montag, 13. Februar 2012

"Mom, I am going to be a cave guide!"

12th of Feb and we have left the Sala Inpeng in Vientiane for Maylyn's Guesthouse in VangVieng. The bus left with an hour delay at 11 am and took exactly 4 hours for 60.000 kip. We had a short break in the middle and went for Icecream. The trip was just great. We passed small villages settled in an incredible landscapes. It got more and more hilly with the famous limestones. People directly living on and at the streets, sleeping outside on beds on sticks, kids waving at us... the bus station is a km outside of VV and we got a free ride as well as a rip off to the bridge that we had to cross for 4.000 kip each in order to get to Maylyn Guesthouse.
Maylyn Guesthouse, what an amazing place in a stunning landscape. Joe, the owner from Ireland, saved me a brilliant wooden bungalow in the corner of an incredibly beautiful arranged Garden. Nicely decorated, with all kinds of animals making strange and funny noises. Nature at its best. Standing on the porch of our simple bungalow with a huge king size bed, interesting construction of Mosquito net and no space to store our luggage, there was a hammock and a breathtaking view on huge limestones of VangVieng.
We went out for a 10 minute walk uptown along the River Nam Song  and I still haven't figured out what to think about this town. Tons of kids, most of them drunken like hell, one Restaurant after the other with all kinds of horrible Western food as well as tasteless Thai Food.. free Wifi access everywhere (which is unfortunately not available on our side of the river). A completely strange atmosphere and if it weren't for the amazing landscape, I not recommend to there with a kid.... But Kjell didn't really notice the people around him. All he was interested in was making me promise that we would definitely go for a swim in the river the day.... So, I picked up my LP and started making plans for the next day...

13th of Feb, yiieeha, Kjell is eating well again. For breakfast we had Muesli with Yoghurt and a huge fresh fruit plate... he ate all of it! ;-) Mom's happy!
We had nice chats with Joe and some other guests from France and got a perfect recommendation for visiting a cave nearby. As I did not feel like picking up for a 6km walk we rented a bike as everybody does it around here (almost no cars except SongThaews the road anyway). This  trip turned out to be the most fun for Kjell sitting in "the backseat" of my bikes (honestly, the bike had a comfortable, fluffy seat and thingys to put his feet on. This is how Lao kids move forward with their parents... and we are not talking about one kid but up to three on a normal bicycle... ;-)
So, off we went to go and see the Tham Phu Kham cave and the Blue Lagoon that is mentioned in my LP and on Tripadvisor. The trip was pure horror for me. It was so boiling hot, the road was nothing but dusty and so bumpy  and stony. We took the first wrong sign saying Blue Lagoon for a word and ended up in a waterhole at a small river... but we weren't the only ones that were ripped off and so we all continued our trip and after further 2km (felt like I was taking part in the desert trip of 'the good, the bad and the ugly') we finally arrived at this beautiful spot! How nicely arranged with a small restau, little wooden roofed places  on sticks to lay down, tubes to rent and the best of it: a wonderful clear-blue watered Lagoon with swings, ropes and trees to jump off. The people here came from all countries and the atmosphere was extremely relaxed. Kjell got into the water, made some friends with guys from Israel and was really a perfect swimmer.

After a while we went for a ridiculously dangerous climb up the mountain to enter the cave. But the climb was worth the fear. We had our torchlights and entered a huge dark cave ... and if I say huge, I mean huge. Nothing compared to any Tropfsteinhöhle I have ever visited in the past. The cave did not have any walkways but you just had to climb on your own on slippery stones and rocks in sometimes really dangerously heights. Nevertheless it was breathtaking and somehow scary when the daylight faded and you were suddenly completely depending on your flashlights... to assure Daddy: there were lots of other people and everybody was taking care of each other... it was a mixture of all different languages in the dark! And Kjell was the Master! It felt as if he was born and raised in a cave and knew nothing else!! He climbed, decided on the route, found workarounds, assured other people, gave advise, informed,.... and was the most ambitious and happy person ever! I know that kids have a different feeling about danger but he at the same time was still cautious in any ways, taking care of his old Mom! ;-) What a great adventure...

Dinner at Maylyn's was really enjoyable as I start trying meals only by picking by name! We sat together with a nice bunch of people from France, Germany and met a family from Belgium that have been traveling SEA since June already. Cool people and Kjell played with Neela (6y) all night long. Even though he is more the shy type of guy, he slowly starts picking up some words in Lao and English. Joe, the owner thought Kjell would be quite snobby as he never answered to his questions until I told him we were German and Kjell's English knowledge rather limited... Ha, he actually thought I was Australian! ;-)
At night, in our daily procedure of telling each other what was cool and what not so cool,  Kjell stated that this was the best day ever.... so far so good!!

14th of Feb and for the whole morning we stayed in our hammock, watching the scenery and enjoying life...  the kittens came onto our porch to play with Kjell and what would I do without animal life? ;-)

This afternoon we plan on taking a ride (Joe still has a kids bike) to the Organic Mulberry Farm to have a cool shake, watch the crazy kids tubing (this is where the 3km tubing down the river starts) and probably go for another smaller cave and swimming. ...

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