06 May 2012

Sky-Rocket Festival

So, we arrive in this crazy little town called Vang Vieng, if you haven't herd of it that's okay.  However you should probably work on getting there as soon as you can, before its too late.  After doing some shopping around for a nice place to stay, we stumbled upon this spot.  Top floor over looking the river with three beds and a giant bathroom with two large balconies:  This is pimpin' in VV.
Off the beaten path during a lazy walk to find the river.

We found this head on.

Morning of the festival I met the Caterpillar while hanging in a hammock.

He was quite friendly.
The bars were also a staging area for all the boys to get their pretty on.

The lady-boys are ready for the ball.

This is when the rockets come out.
And Boom!

When they first said they were going to shoot rockets over the mountains, I didn't believe them...  Guess I was wrong.

Only one person out of the five is a real girl, guess who.

Gibson and his mate.

It was hard to compete with all the beauty around.

Sometimes they would go just straight up.  They can reach up to 2 km high.  All the rockets are home made, and people from neighboring towns would come to this rocket festival because it is the biggest in all of Laos.  Families, bars, organizations, or just groups of people get together and build rockets out of PVC pipes and gun powder and bring them on this day to compete with other people.  This is a celebration for fertility and prosperity for the rainy season and the crops.

Some needed to be loaded on trucks.  Before they launch them the rocket is dipped in water.  This precaution is an important step to the rockets because if they don't have water in them they explode when ignited rather then shooting into the air.  A group of people carry them onto some wooden ladders and strap them down.  More recently they've started using remote detonators because it is so dangerous.

Everyone was having a ball.

Many people try standing in the shade to watch the event.  Kids played on the merry-go-round and in the river. while getting their sugar buzz off snow cones and candy.  The adults danced near the live stage or walked around with their rockets trying to find people to compete with.  Groups with a rocket find other groups with a simular sized rockets and start a bet.  The bet will be for 10-15 cases of beer to the winner, and will be based on whether you think your rocket can fly straighter, higher, or longer.  How you measure is by the trail of smoke it leaves, some reaching up to as long as 30-40 seconds.

All this on such a beautiful day.

Not every rocket makes it.

Cooling off down by the river.

The festival goes from 10 until 5.  Rockets all day long.  It was quite a site to see.

The endding to a great day.  And the clouds roll in to start the rainy season.  Seems like the rockets did their duty.

Next day at the caves.

Followed by tubing down the river.

This place is paradise.

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