Today was the tubing day down the river. Sascha and I met up with the German couple, Dominic and Lena around noon. After checking in and signing many release forms we caught a ride to the drop off location.
The tube trip was very relaxing and slow, much slower than we all thought it would be. The river level was low so you had to watch for rocks. No one was really in a beer drinking mood, so we kept it light and easy. The scenery was spectacular and I could see signs of the party that used to be. Many buildings lined the river, all boarded up and empty. I could see where the water slides were torn out and rope swings dismantled. It looked like it once was a pretty lively party.
After the 3 hour tube ride everyone was tired and in need of a shower and a meal.
Later that night I took a walk around the town and stopped into a bar that was always the place to be. The owner, LaLa, was a young Laos kid who must have a influential family member or inherited the business. I was very curious how someone that young could own such a popular bar in the right part of the strip. He knew how to market his business well as attract the traveller crowd. Other bars in the area have made a name for themselves playing non-stop Friends, Family Guy or South Park episodes at FULL volume. Very surreal indeed because most of these places were always packed.
I ran into my German friend, Tatjana who had just arrived via the bus. We chatted for a couple hours and when the bar closed followed a pack of people being led by Lala to a town party. We arrived to a outdoor venue which looked to be a temple yard which was filled with Laos locals. A huge stage was set up and tables upon tables were crammed with Beerlao. For a place that forces bars to close by 11:30pm, this was interesting sight. The performances lasted about 20 mins and then was followed with about 20 mins of the emcee saying something that no one seemed to be interested in. Once the music started the dance floor was flooded, but as soon as the performers were done the local security pointed all of the non-locals to their seats. I guess standing around the dance floor is a no-no.
Around 2:30am I had enough of the scene and walked back to my “Palace”. They lock the doors at midnight so I had to rouse the night guard passed out in a cot next to the door. He seemed pretty happy to see me.