A Wild Welcome in Vang Vieng
“CHEESY BACON FRIES!” I yelped as we rounded the bend. We had driven past a bar advertising the most delicious food I could imagine. “We have to go there!”
Our minibus had arrived in Vang Vieng. After crossing the border to Laos, my friends Anthony, Jon, Chris and Mona and I split a minibus with two guys we met at the border: Neil from the UK and Ben from the Netherlands, both of them traveling solo.
Now…getting Western food on your first afternoon in a new country? I know, I know. Not cool.
But on the minibus ride to Vang Vieng, our driver stopped at a local restaurant. We were each served the one dish on the menu, a bowl of foe — Lao noodle soup similar to Vietnamese pho.
This wasn’t ordinary foe. Liver and other various organs were floating in it. Hundreds of flies — yes, hundreds, and that’s no exaggeration — buzzed around our heads. To top it off, being foreigners, we were massively overcharged.
So a plate of cheesy bacon fries sounded really good about then.
After checking into the excellent Dok Khoun guesthouse in Vang Vieng, the seven of us went down to the bar advertising the cheesy bacon fries.
What followed was a night of epic proportions.
We were promptly greeted by Jackie, the eccentric, ponytailed Lao bartender. Being the only guests in the bar, we had his full attention (a rarity in Laos!) and he immediately showed off his vat of snake vodka.
I’m not naming names, but one of the guys is deathly afraid of snakes and nearly passed out when the jug was placed on the table!
We ordered our cheesy bacon fries…and Jackie returned with a new bottle of Lao Lao, or moonshine.
“I thought we were taking it easy tonight,” I protested feebly. After our night on a Thai party train, and a three-hour ride in a cramped minibus, a simple day would have been nice.
Jackie wouldn’t allow it. He immediately poured us a complimentary round of Lao Lao shots.
In case you ever doubted the potency of Lao Lao, check it out here: Jackie set it on fire and the boys took turns putting their fingers into the flames, seeing who could last the longest.
Jackie then brought us a bucket.
That’s when things started getting really weird.
Jackie began regaling us with tales of his sexual prowess, each of them becoming increasingly far-fetched.
“I go four times in one hour! Ohhhh, ohhhh, ohhhh, ohhhh!” he said, pelvic thrusting in slow-motion on each syllable.
“I had sex with a girl in 1996! Ohhhhhhhh!” Thrusting again and again.
The cheesy bacon fries arrived, and they were nothing short of divine.
Jackie brought us another bucket, and unlike the first, this one tasted like it was about 90% alcohol.
“I can go five times in one hour! Ohhhh, ohhhh, ohhhh, ohhhh, ohhhh!” As Jackie’s tales escalated and spun out of control, his pelvic thrusts got deeper and deeper.
And then the music got turned up and the dancing began!
Neil and Jackie…so beautiful together.
Well, as time went on, it became clear that Jackie only had eyes for one person.
And Mona was scared.
Actually, by then, I think we were all scared of Jackie and his ever-increasing pelvic thrusts.
“I can go for an hour, no stop! OHHHHHHHH!”
We got out before it was too late — Jackie didn’t charge us for the buckets — and spent the rest of the night stocking up on $2 pairs of fake Ray-Bans, the official eyewear of Vang Vieng.
We did make it to bed at a decent hour…because the next day was all about the tubing.
As for Jackie? We never saw him again. I’m sure he’s thrusting away, wherever he is.