The Vang Vieng Veg: Lao Women and Falaang Men – Laos, Asia
It was a day of kickin’ back, hiking, swimming and caving in Vang Vieng. I was walking back to my guesthouse after a quiet dinner when I came across a bar with a pool table. Well, it was too early to go to bed. One of the guys playing was an Israeli whom I had met several times in Vietnam; the other was a Croatian I had become acquainted with on the bus to town. I stopped by for a beer and a game or two. All well and good.
The Canadian couple I tubed with the day before also came in. It seemed that a nice and relaxing evening would unfold. Soon afterwards, an older Swede gentleman and his young Lao partner whom I had met a couple of days ago also came in. Naturally, I went over to chat with them.
The Lao girl told me that her girlfriend had been my waitress the day before, and then informed me that this girl thought I was nice. There’s no accounting for taste these days. She proceeded to call her friend on the phone – who just so happened to be right across the street. Before I could excuse myself and go back to playing pool, the other girl entered.
She looked all of 19, but said she was 26. She was quite beautiful. Within two minutes, it was made clear to me that she was mine for the asking. I now felt really weird, after all, I am a middle aged man; I've not had anything of this sort happen to me while I was awake. Thankfully, there were other folks I knew at the bar. I was able to escape and continue playing pool; empty a couple tall bottles of Beer Lao as evening became night.
My pool-playing friends decided to go to a rave bar across the street. Being curious and figuring that the old Swede and his entourage wouldn’t be interested in the other pub, I tagged along. I was right for only 15 minutes. The Swede and the two Lao girls showed up. They were on a mission. At this pub, there was a campfire to sit around and keep warm while drinking. Techno/rave/hip-hop young European sort of music blared from large speakers. It was too much for the old Swede. I hoped he and his friends were going to leave. And leave they did.
All was good and right in the world.
But the girls insisted on coming back. My other new Western friends were giving me a lot of crap for the attention I was getting. The rest of the youngsters around the fire were also amused. What they saw through their eyes was a skinny old man (the Swede) who was long in the tooth, and white and sparse in hair, with this stunning dark-haired Lao girl. They also saw me, old enough to be their father, who had another attractive young Lao woman paying too much attention to him. And then the Lao girls started drinking shots of tiger whiskey – fear and laothing [sic] in Vang Vieng.
By law, bars close fairly early here. When it was time to leave, it was made very obvious that I should take the girl back to the guesthouse with me, that she would be willing to hang out with me for as long as I wanted, do whatever I wanted – even travel with me. And I did nothing to encourage this behavior, aside from buying a few drink. Yikes.
Actually, it was funny. I looked for someone to tag team with me, but I couldn't find anyone. I was surprised by that because the girl was very good looking. What’s the matter with 20-something guys these days?
It came to the moment of truth and I explained (for about the fifth time during the course of the evening) that I had a wonderful girlfriend back home and wasn’t interested in her company. She got fairly upset, said a few words in Lao that I am very sure were her very best bad ones, and then hit me in the chest and stormed off – much to the amusement of my pool-playing friends.
That’s the story I’m sticking with.