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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

23 May 2004

RTW 04: Laos


Kayaks Down the Nam Khom - 22/05/04 (Luang Prabang)

My friend booked us onto a kayaking trip for $17 each – I was too ill at the time to provide any help. After initially worrying I was going to be horribly sick all over our fellow tourists – two rather quiets Finns who worked at the United Nations in Vientiane – my stomach cleared up, and we managed to get into the kayak, which was good.

Arriving at the small Tiger Trails way station, we were presented with a two person canoe, which didn’t appeal to either of us. Didn't bother the Finns, as they had apparently requested one. We instead received rather bizarre inflatable kayaks, which we certainly didn’t expect: a Gumofex 'Traveller', apparently. Then again, the guide had something similar – a 'Safari' open top model – so that placated me slightly.

The kayaking itself was quite fun, though I did successfully go lobster-red, especially on my exposed inner thighs (I was wearing shorts). My friend and I perfected the art of horizontal kayaking, though I refrained from putting my feet up like she did (tempted, though...)

The trip was relatively smooth going, except the two occasions we both managed to get stuck on rocks, whereupon I thought I’d managed to rip out the bottom of my kayak. Amusingly enough, my friend’s kayak was filled with water as a result, which was swiftly dyed completely black by her low-quality unwashed trousers. Good old Delhi roadside clothing stalls.

We spent roughly four hours on the water, although the Finns rushed ahead for no good reason, resulting in the guide disappearing completely towards the end. This lack of guidance resulted in my 'rip' up the wrong channel of the final rapids. We accidentally met him again later, while my friend was looking for a skirt.

Guy at stall: "Tired?"
My friend: "Yes, I’ve been canoeing all day"
Guy at stall: "I know – I was the guide!"

Neither of us recognised him without his hat. Ahem. Turned out well though, as I bought one of his shirts. I got it for 18,000 kip at a 'kayak discount', my first ever successful haggle, made even more gratifying by the next tourist buying one for 25,000 kip.

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