Climbing, Absailing & Dirt Biking
by Pete Adams
(Vang Vieng, Laos, Saturday 15th December 2007)
You're only important to yourself,
and those that you help.
Yesterday I finished the third day of the rock-climbing course. On the second day we practised lead climbing and yesterday we learned how to repel (absail). Our third attempt was down a 30 metre cliff beside the last bar on the river.
We then went on to learn multi-level climbing. Physically again it was really tough but also technically, remembering what knots to tie and when to anchor etc. was difficult under pressure. BUT, Kerstin & I succesfully managed two x two level climbs of about 25 metres. We were well chuffed at the end. A very rewarding and exhilerating experience.Pete, Kerstin and AdamToday
Today I rented a dirt bike, a 250 cc Honda Baja. I followed Ben's advice and followed the main road out of V.V. North turning left onto a dirt road at the first bridge. The road wound through the mountains for a couple of kms before coming to a stream which I pushed the bike over.
The other side of the stream was a little village with houses made of bamboo with children playing and goats wandering. I followed the dirt road further and came across another village, a little bigger this time, and stopped at the "shop" for some rice and a shake. The views were beautiful as I continued along the road which eventually led back to the main road just north of Vang Vieng.
I carried on heading north back past the bridge and turned off the man road where I saw a sign for a cave. I wandered round the huge pitch dark cave with a torch looking at the stalagtites and stalagmites. The ceiling was a grey-blue colour with streaks of white limestone and gold coloured speckles. No flash on my phone camera so the pictures were taken by torchlight.
I then continued along a dirt path beside the canal until it met the river at a tiny village. I had a swim and a beer in a bamboo bar overlooking the river.
The only thing that spoiled the idyllic scene was a caged monkey beside the bar. I guess it's us tourists who create this situation though. If it weren't for us, they probably wouldn't capture the monkies to try to make some money from us.
When I started to leave I found I had a puncture, so half rode, half walked the bike a couple of miles to the main road. I waved down a tuk-tuk driver who loaded the bike and me in the back and took us back to Vang Vieng to get the puncture repaired.
Easier said than done though with a makeshift workshop and just one tyre lever so it took an hour to fix. The brake pads fell apart as the wheel was being put back on so the guy went off on his scooter to get some replacements. Another hour later with much use of an angle grinder, he anaged to get the pads to fit. Total cost including the recovery was $30, so not bad, but twice what it cost to rent the bike.
Tomorrow I'm gonna book my flights to the U.K. For Christmas (yes Touran, don't worry, I'm still coming :-) and book a bus further north to Luang Prabang.