Thursday, February 10, 2011

Deep in the Caves at VV

It's a good sign that I am writing about experiences many days later. That usually means we have been busy or at least we are not sitting on long bus rides. The downside is that I have some catching up to do.

Out first full day in VV we rented a motorbike and went buzzing out of town. The valley is completely stunning and we could have just enjoyed the ride all day. We pulled off down a little dirt road that took us to a small village by the river that lead to the entrance of the "Elephant Caves". A young man guided us through the fields and forests to the entrance and from there we went deep into the mountain. We were just expecting the usual shallow hole in the wall with a large Buddha or thousands of Buddhas. What we got was the longest hike through the mountain in tunnels that make the caverns in Casa Bonita look... well, they kind of looked like that. At some point I thought we might come out of the other end behind the puppet show just as the mariachi band struck up "La Cucaracha".

Our guide jumped from rock to rock while we climbed over boulders, ducked under stalactites, awed at the wonders that can make up the interior of such a cave. Tapping some of the thin long and sometimes nearly translucent stalactites would echo out deep lasting librations that sounded like crystal singing bowls. Some stalagmites sparkled like they were covered with diamonds and there were thin veins of crystal cutting across walls.

We were in hot wet air going deep in the cave and it was only three of us with headlamps. Even if you are not claustrophobic this place has the making of a discomfort zone. The adventure was exciting and full of wonderment and we were happy to see daylight once again... even if it was not in Casa Bonita.

We visited a few more caves and took a dip in the cool water at the entrance of one. Our ride back to town was just as spectacular as the out bound trip.

Location:Vangvieng Laos

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