Glædelig Jul & Tiny Hearts

Our days in Luang Prabang fly by and though we had originally intended to spend Christmas there, we began to feel that we were ready to move on. Oh the joys of living one day to the next. We decide on a whim that we’ll join our friends Peter and Nicklas and head to Vang Vieng for Christmas instead. Our foursome won’t be disbanding just yet and that makes me immensely happy.

On the morning of December 24th we catch a bus to Vang Vieng. It is the bumpiest ride I have experienced thus far, and I note that the infrastructure in Laos is most definitely less developed than some of its neighboring countries. I fly out of my seat regularly, and naps are not really an option. I’ve forgotten to download another playlist so I listen to the same songs on repeat.

After about 6 hours, we arrive in Vang Vieng. I’m curious about this town. Once the party center of Laos, Vang Vieng is infamous for its tubing, drunken debauchery and the easy availability of drugs. As a result of a lot of accidents over the years, the scene has now changed. Tubing is handled differently and a lot of bars have closed their doors. That being said, they say Vang Vieng is still the place to go for a party. Let’s see what comes our way.

It’s Christmas Eve, so we have decided to splurge on a hotel room. Treat yourself. We head to our hotel and check in. We take a nap, because naps are magical- and why am I explaining myself to you?

We have decided that our Christmas celebrations will span three days. On Christmas Eve we will celebrate a Danish Christmas. On Christmas Day a Curaçao/ U.K. Christmas. Finally, we will celebrate Boxing Day, just for good measure. We’re adults, we do what we want, okay? 

We had toyed with the idea of finding a way to cook our own Christmas meal, but when that plan became difficult to execute, we opted for the next best thing: pizza. It’s what Jesus would have wanted.

We heard about a restaurant called Il Tavolo and decided that this would be the location of our Christmas feast.  We gorge ourselves on pizza and bruschetta. We order two bottles of overpriced wine. It’s a holiday, after all. We learn how to pronounce glædelig jul (Merry Christmas in Danish) and we share stories of what we normally do back home for the holidays.

After dinner we go out, but not before we all invest in Santa hats. And so we dive into the Vang Vieng nightlife. Santa hats on, Mariah Carey on the loundspeakers, drunken debauchery in full force all around us.

We meet a group of Koreans and spend the next hours together. They teach us how to make tiny hearts (which are basically when you pinch your index and thumb together so it looks like a heart) and are visibly proud when we begin to make use of them in photos. We wiggle around, we drink too much.

I laugh. And laugh. And laugh. I’m far away from home, but somehow it doesn’t feel that way at all. I’m celebrating Christmas Eve in a strange little town in Laos. I am practicing words in Danish, I’m dancing to Korean pop music. Home for the next few days is a hotel room that I share with three guys and a whole lot of dirty backpacks and stinky clothes.

My cheeks hurt from smiling and I am losing my voice from all the laughter.

So far this has already been the happiest Christmas.

Side note: You know you’re having a wonderful time when you have barely any photos to show for it. Now that’s living.

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