Mushrooms, Ladyboys and Whopping Burger @ Vang Vieng

A night out in Vang Vieng has left me with the impression that maybe this place could be the setting for the next installment of the Hangover franchise. Binge drinking is heavily encouraged and if your not participating someone's sure to give you a free shot of Lao Lao to loosen you up, several of the bars I visited also showed me their special menu, these contained a variety of weed or opium laced items including everything from smoothies to pizzas, some also offered mushroom dishes to serve the more adventurous. The tourists are from all over the world and were interesting to meet but the people who choose to make Vang Vieng their home proved to be a truly special breed. I met several prodigal half brained beings who'd taken a break from their home countries for a life of passing out bar fliers by day and conducting drinking games by night, the majority of these type appeared to have had there soul melted down and trampled over by years of drug use. One less zombie-fied exception I met had come from Ohio to work here as a DJ, but when he arrived he was convinced he'd discovered a utopia here, absent the greed and inequality of the West, he said that as soon as his Laos citizenship was approved he planned to renounce his citizenship in the US all together and start his own business here. There were also the sadder cases like the towns local homeless that were scouring the bar street at 3am looking for a dropped coin or dollar, the immigrant ladyboys from Thailand that littered the bars in search of sex tourists, and the Laotian girl who could only speak in bird chirps and had become the subject of a bet between a group of drunk Aussies. All of these factors loaded into my brain somewhere behind the Beer and Lao Lao and caused my perspective of this town to skew dramatically throughout the duration of the night.

This morning, having lost the ability to speak in complete sentences and now suffering from small hand tremors, I figured maybe today I shouldn't try to attempt to much physical or mental activity. A herd of cows happened to be passing through town so I did a walk over the river to join them for a while, I followed them for about a quarter of a mile before veering into the riverside shack which serves as a bar to the sun bathers. Soon I found myself sitting on one of the riverside lounges drinking Beerlao as the cows walked past one by one.

Friendly cows

Other tourists

By the time the sun set my skin began to burn, either from my lack of sunscreen or maybe as symptom of dehydration, I decided to make my way back into town. Walking the streets I felt I'd become one of the zombies of Vang Vieng, bearing only a blank stare as I zigzagged along the sidewalk hunting for something greasy to put a dent in my hangover. Not far from the town center I sat down at a place called Whopping Burger which was able to accomplish just that. It's a bit hard to realize the size of the burger from the picture I took, but it was almost the size of my head.

outside whopping burger

My own whopping burger
The creators of this burger

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