New Years Eve celebrations - Laos Style
It looks empty, but they were just doing the opening ceremony where they would let everyone in who bought tickets in advance. So the line on the sidewalk was crazy long and naturally I didn't think to photo that!
Random décor on my walk
The first bar I stopped at - they had 2-4-1s and since everyone was drinking hours before me, I figured this was a good pit stop :)
And then I got to Utopia with my newfound friends - there was a group shot of us but it was completely black and blurry... so I guess they were kind of my imaginary friends LOL
Techno elephant - lights and movement changed with music
Mini bonfires on the outskirts of the main fire area
After the coconuts, I went back towards the fire and there were folks walking by the bar.. So I yelled 'cold beer' and the recruiting worked like a charm.
Two guys joined in and they turned out to be super fun. One saw the guitars on the walls of the elders bar/home and grabbed it to start playing. They were not tuned and not all the strings were attached, but we had some sing alongs around the fire and it was far more fun than the chaos of Utopia.
As it got later, I needed to go home. I was getting up EARLY in the morning to do quite a big hike to an amazing waterfall I read about, away out of town. I started the trek back across town to my place and one of the guys offered to walk me home. Normally, I would think this was a nice gesture, but something about this guy told me he was going to be a leech of sorts. Not in a bad or mean way, just odd. And I was right. So, but the time we walked across town, I still couldn't shake him. There was a group of locals who were listening to music via their truck parked on the street and doors open with speakers blaring and they were seated at a mock table on the street, just hanging out and having beers. I saw one open spot at the table meant for people no taller than 5' and took the opportunity. I sat down, cheers the locals, and was going to buy a beer off them, but they had a glass up for me before I could even offer. I looked at the leech guy, who was likely quite nice, but refused to get the hint that I had zero intention of hanging out with him now or later, and told him this was where I was staying, so he can leave. He gave an awkward laugh as he looked at each of the locals. Meanwhile, I was feigning to know the locals and pulling up Google Translate as discreetly as possible, while typing in "This guy will not leave me alone so can I just pretend that I am staying here with you guys?" The locals read it, laughed, and totally played along until the guy finally left. I never felt 'unsafe' with the guy, and he never pushed or got demanding in any way, he just had that vibe of being a person who would follow me around like a lost dog all night if I didn't shake him.
After having a couple of glasses of beer with these folks and playing a great game of charades and Google Translate, I was off to my place a few blocks down and ready for bed. It was a unique start to 2019!!