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Vang Vieng, Lao:A Snatch Shot of the Vang Veg

Friday, December 15th, 2006

vv.jpgOk…more about the title of this section later. You’re just going to have to read on.

Vang Vieng is one of the weirdest-strange towns i have been in so far.

As you can tell by clicking on the link above, the scenery is quite stunning. To the west, there are these limestone cliffs that dominate the view from the village. And between the karsts and the city runs the Nam Song – the Song River.

With the anticipation of many rave tales of V V, I arrived in town around 7 PM and it was already dark. I had my mind set on a particular guest house (stunning pictures taken from the balcony in one of my guide books) and it took 20 minutes or so to find it. Considering that you can walk around the whole town in about 15 minutes, not an impressive hunt by yours truly. I had been traveling for 3 days, so I am well prepared with excuses. [read on]

Waiting for My (Wo)Man

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

vn.jpgWith 126,000 dong in my hand…

(All apologies to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground)

Most all of the towns I have visited so far cater to tourists of course. The average wage for most Vietnamese is about $5 a day, and that is if he/she is working a job, rather than laboring in the fields.

So, many people sell trinkets and other assorted items and services to us. It’s a way to make a dong, especially if the mark doesn’t barter.

Here in Sapa, the nearby Hmong and Dzao hill tribes come in and sell local handicrafts (and chinese-made items that resemble these goods). Most are women. The grannies are a hard sell – even tougher than the little kids. Bartering is good fun.

Come dark, the Hmong have other items to sell: marijuana, hashhish, and opium. In other parts of Viet Nam it’s the moto-taxi drivers or the cigarette vendors who offer a connection. [read on]