3 Days in Vang Vieng including Kayaking, Tubing, Caving and ‘Happy Menu’

We arrived in Vang Vieng from Vientiane via bus. The bus cost 50 000  kip for a 4 hour journey. We were dropped us off at the bus stop which is a short walk from the town centre. We went for a little stroll to find our hostel ‘Chillao Youth Hostel,’ once we arrived the receptionist informed us that the hostel was overbooked and they are going to upgrade us free of charge (twice in one week, we’re on a winner here!) They shuttled us back to the other end of town and helped us check into Vang Vieng Boutique Hotel, the 3 star hotel honoured the rate we secured in a dorm at a hostel! The receptionist was an extremely helpful and friendly lady throughout our entire stay, the breakfast was great, the rooms were very clean and comfortable, also offering a fridge and kettle, the only downfall was the wifi was only available in the common area downstairs . I discovered the normal asking price was $20USD for a twin or double room, I would definitely recommend this to travellers on a low-mid range budget.

We headed out to find a bite to eat. Don’t hold your breath for the tastiest food you’ve ever had, Vang Vieng averages 30 000 kip for a meal, and I have eaten airplane food I enjoyed more than some noodle soups I tried here. There are some ‘flashy’ restaurants with the price tag to match, but we didn’t bother trying. Fried rice does the trick! But people flock here not for the food menu, but for the ‘happy menu.’  The happy menu includes, shroom shakes, shroom pizza, shroom tea, opium tea, a pre-made joint and a bag of weed or opium. You can find this menu at Milan’s Pizza and its surrounding restaurants. Apparently it’s perfectly legal to intake these drugs whilst in the restaurant, but not anywhere else. In saying that, the government and police force can be incredibly corrupt and will ask for bribe money or threaten to put you in Jail if they wish to. Remember friends, you are still in South East Asia, you’ve all heard the stories of the people that get caught, stay safe, don’t be stupid!

**Did you know**

–          In Vang Vieng, restaurants have the TV show ‘Friends’ playing on a constant loop, and the restaurants are designed in a day bed style. Leaving it very easy to laze around and watch friends all day! (like you see many travellers doing)

img_1610We ventured around the town, scoping out prices for tubing and the tours. We followed a sign saying ‘Smile Bar’, which lead us across a rickety bridge to a small island filled with bungalows, hammocks and a campfire out night.  Smile bar is right on the river and is the final stop for tubers, making it a prime bar for sunset, we spent a few afternoons here. watching the hot air balloons and paragliders pass by.

untitledThe next day we went out hunting for the best prices for a tour and also a price if we were to hire a motorbike and go adventuring ourselves. We discovered hiring a motorbike was 80 000 kip per person, and you have to have them back by 5pm, so we thought we would try our luck at the price of tours. We found a tour which included kayaking, exploring two caves, a picnic lunch and visiting the Blue Lagoon for 120 000 kip. The tour also covered the charge to cross the bridge out of town (10 000kip) and the entry to Blue Lagoon (10 000kip), so we decided the tour was a better deal and we booked it for the following day. It was getting close to midday, and what better way to spend your sunny afternoon the floating down the river on a tube! Tubing in Vang Vieng was nothing like I expected it to be, it took about 3 hours and there was only two bars to stop at, which were empty. I understood that the tubing shenanigans had been shut down, but I expected a little more! We spent our evening hanging out at restaurant playing friends, I think they are onto something, it was great to relax!

kayakThe following morning we met for our tour with a group of 30, a tuk tuk drove us up the river to where our kayaks and guides awaited. Most of the guests taking the tour were from a Chinese tour group in which had never been on a kayak before, so we spent the first 30 minutes ensuring lifejackets were on correctly, everyone had a dry bag and how to paddle.

We hopped aboard the kayaks and headed down the rapid filled river for the next hour. The guides played around splashing and spooking people in their kayaks. Up ahead we spotted a rickety wooden bridge over the river, we were gestured to stop at the side of this bank. The bridge swayed as we made our way across to the other side where the water cave awaited us.

The guides gave us each a head torch and a tube, we lowed ourselves into the small river and floated inside to the darkness. We pulled ourselves along with a rope hanging in the water, the water was very cool in comparison to the river we were just in. Our guide stops and helps us up an extremely muddy and slippery bank, and we wade deeper into the cave. The cave glimmered and sparkled as your light scanned the walls, we listened to stories of the people that used to live inside.


Floating into Water Cave

‘Watch your head,” the guide said, “It gets very low here.”

Well that was an understatement, on almost hands and knees, we squeeze through the cave watching as insects crawl beside you.

“Okay, this is the exit,” the guide pointed. I could see a small slither of light piercing the cave. We watch as the first guide makes his way out. It was a game of which limb first and what’s safe to grab!

We clamber outside to the abrupt brightness of the sun and make our way through a jungle back to the bridge. Here a BBQ lunch awaited out arrival.

After the DELICIOUS lunch our guides announced that those who purchased zip line could follow him and those that didn’t just had to sit and wait…They tried to sell it to us for an extra 120 000 Kip but we decided to save our cash.

We waited for 1-2 hours for half of the group to zip line, which was a bit frustrating, and then clambered back onto the kayaks. We travelled another 40 mins down the river until we arrived in the heart of town, where a tuk tuk was waiting to take us to the Blue Lagoon.


Blue Lagoon

The drive was about 15mins, many people were cycling or riding a motorbike toward the same direction. We arrived in the carpark and my heart started to sink a little, there were hundreds of buses, bikes and tuk tuks. We made our way inside, I felt like I had entered Disneyland with the amount of tourists squashed together. Majority in which could not swim and were either clinging to people or things, or jumping from high trees with their new found faith in the fluorescent orange life jacket they had acquired. All in which were still dressed in jeans and jackets, pulling them deep into the lagoon.

The lagoon itself was pretty, but the serenity had been lost long ago. We decided to first make the extremely steep climb to the elephant cave before cooling off in the lagoon. There will be ladies trying to rent you head torches, we just used the lights on our phone.


Entrance to Elephant Cave

Elephant cave is very grand, definitely worth the climb up, and if you have the time and bravery you can adventure very deep into the cave. We made our way back down and jumped into the lagoon (I’m not kidding about others clinging onto you! Be careful the lagoon can be quite deep.) Finally we gathered the group and headed to the tuk tuk to go back to town.

The same tour is offered at many shops in town, some charging a little more with the same itinerary. I think it was definitely worth the money, just a little disappointing with the 2 hour wait in the middle of the day, maybe try find one without the waiting about!


Approaching Kaeng Nyui Waterfall

The following day we grabbed a tuk tuk for 100 000kip (between three) and headed for Kaeng Nyui Waterfall. It’s not far out of town, but due to the bum bruising road condition it takes about 40 minutes to get there. Once you arrive you need to walk through the jungle for about 15 – 20mins.

I felt like I was in a zoo! We crossed paths with so many amazing creatures and the butterflies wouldn’t stop landing on us! They were the most beautifully coloured butterflies I had ever seen! Finally we reached the water falling from the sky and I couldn’t believe it… There was not even 10 people there in which most were locals! This is a MUST DO in Vang Vieng.

We stayed awhile, venturing into other pools and playing with the butterflies, until we decided it was time to head back to town to sort of the bus for the following day.

img_1522img_1483We were figuring out the best way to get to Phonsavan to see the Plain of Jars, after researching bus times, length and time of journey and costs, we decided to get a private car. Find  How I got to Phonsavan and how much did it Cost?

Vang Vieng is extremely beautiful with so many hidden secrets to discover if you have the time. I would advise going to a different Blue Lagoon as I saw others advertised. It had plenty to offer for the thrill seekers too! From rock climbing, hot air ballooning, paragliding, adventuring on all terrain vehicles this list goes on! There’s plenty of backpackers that have stayed to pick up work in this town, maybe for the adventuring, maybe for the happy menu who knows!

Have you been to Vang Vieng? What did you do differently? Are you going there soon? I’d love to help! Please share with me your experiences!


Changes in Thailand following the Death of the King, may affect Travellers.

It has been as interesting few days in Ao Nang, I’ve noticed many more offerings on the streets and in shops, and the Thai people taking more time to pray. I’ve seen many in tear…

Source: Changes in Thailand following the Death of the King, may affect Travellers.

My 5 Keys to Happiness

Life is an amazing experience of meeting new people and experiencing new things, falling in love and sometimes overindulging in a moment; which isn’t at all a bad thing.

Throughout life you will learn many valuable lessons and today I was so loudly reminded by screaming silence that it is important to practice everything. If we do not practice we will out grow and mature beyond what we know.

Let me talk you through some practices that have changed my life beyond words.

1. Enjoy Time

Learn to enjoy time in every circumstance. Learn to enjoy it alone. Learn to enjoy it in silence. Sit with time, let it take you places instead of forcing yourself places on time. This will teach you patience, understanding and listening skills.

2. Date Yourself

Don’t just take yourself to dinner, instagram it and thing you’re a better person for it. Take your journal to your local coffee shop, take your camera to the park, get intimate with yourself, get to know you, discover the very depths of your soul, even the darkest parts.

3. Explore your Senses

When I’m discovering knew places I like to go to the local markets, I like to smell the scents from the flowers, the food stores, the freshly mowed grass. I like to taste the local berries and try cuisines I’ve never had, I like to touch the hand made pieces and watch the beautiful colours in the lively markets.

Explore yourself, touch yourself, pleasure yourself, lay in a bath with a bottle of red. Lay naked on your bed with your favourite album playing. Know yourself and love yourself. For how do you expect another to if you yourself cannot. You must be your own whole before you can be someone else’s other half.

4. Have a Hobby

And be passionate about it. It doesn’t matter is you don’t think you’re very good, no one else even has to see it if you wish. If it makes you happy then do it, and keeping doing it and make time for it, because life gets busy. Use it to express, use it to meditate.

5. Communicate

Talk to yourself, if something isn’t working talk yourself through it. If something is working well, identify why, find out what you are good at and what you would like to practice. Communicate with your partner, do know wait until anger builds up and explode at one another, talk gently and expressively when you are upset. Let your friend know when they have done something that wasn’t on, don’t complain behind their back.

Once upon a time, there was a town called Portland, It lived in a land called Oregon.

Crawling into the shuttle bus in the early hours of the morning, the sun hadn’t even begun its rise. We had one other pick up on the way, after the driver found himself a little lost and running a few red lights, we found a man that I’m sure was Edward Scissorhand’s Brother. He had wire coiled around his hair, almost tentacle like, he surely admired Davy Jones, Zoidberg and Lekku, he carried only a brief case. I still to this day have no idea how he gets through airport security, his hair tentacles definitely do not look easily removable.
Arriving at San Fransisco airport; Portland bound, I pulled out my Travel Folder, the only thing that I ever in my life have organised. As we check in, the sales assistant tries to charge us an extra few hundred dollars for the excess board bags that we had already paid for. It was 7am in the morning, I’d been drinking to early hours of the morning with barely any sleep, much like the rest of my week.
‘Can I speak to your manager please’ I’d never actually heard these words come out of my mouth, It’s usually Goosey that’s in charge. This was the defining point that I knew I could do it all own my own. You learn a whole new confidence in yourself when there is no one left to rely on, it’s incredibly empowering. One thing I’ve learnt from working in Guest Services is the general sales assistant cannot overrule anything, there is absolutely no point getting angry at them, nor anyone else behind the desk. If the manager is going to make exception for you, it’s because you’ve shown them kindness and understanding, not because you’ve yelled profanities at them for the last 20 minutes.
After an intense security screening, (San Francisco has one of the highest security processes in the world) and Shannon freaking out a little, (she had indulged in smoking San Francisco’s finest and was worried about a few loose leaves) we were on our way to Portland.
Portland is like walking into James and the Giant Peach, except pumpkins! Tiny little insects lacing the emerald fauna along the pathways, it’s sure to remind you of this childhood story. The beauty of Portland is everything is spread out, there isn’t really one place to find all you need, Portland requires exploring. We had been recommended by other travellers to Stay in McMenamins White Eagle Saloon; a quirky, haunted rock ‘n’ roll hotels- This will set you back approx. $65 USD p/n. The bounteous oak bar downstairs serves McMenamins’ handcrafted beverages, with live music nightly. The walls are swimming with hand written stories and pictures throughout the entire hotel, definitely worth the stay for a peculiar Portland experience, not to mention the amazing handcrafted cider! (that the owners insisted we tried at 10am)
The more I Travel, the more I discover about myself and the more open my mind is. You will notice in the story of my adventures, my idea of travel has changed vastly. I wish I knew when I was in Portland about the amazing hiking opportunities, but at the time it just wasn’t something my brain related to travelling in Portland, I guess I’ll just have to go back again!
This was my first time to Portland, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you what originally caught my attention was Portland’s craft beer. I had solely started researching this beautiful place because of the food and drink of this city. A city of so much soul, it warms you on even the coolest of days; shades of orange and yellows that your eyes had never seen, the most beautiful browns which hide specs of green. It was the most perfect definition of fall, the most idealistic day to huddle in coffee shops and read poetry in Powell’s Bookstore. (I definitely bought too many books; adding weight to my already oversized luggage.)
We wandered our way to a bar called Bailey’s Tap room, we found this hidden gem by accident looking for another bar. This bar was tended by Seth Rogan’s doppelganger, I still to this day swear it was actually him; humour pairing with looks. His name was Scott, but we called him Seth, he became our favourite bartender in Portland, we returned a handful of times not just for his spectacular hosting but the mouth melting craft beer.  Definitely worth dropping in here, Scott was extremely helpful with recommendations of his favourite whiskey bars and a few of Portland’s hidden secrets, he honestly had us in fits of laughter with his banter. When the inevitable goodbye came around he left us with some goodies from the bar and a parting poem on a postcard.
‘There once was a man named Scott.
He looked a lot like a Seth, but acted like a Jester.
He wakes up late at night and Like to fester and pester.’
With Scott’s recommendations, we spent the day in rustic saloons tasting whiskeys and talking to quirky locals; each giving us their advice on ‘Must do’ in Portland. And with a handful of the same suggestion, we booked the best transvestite show in town!  DARCELLE XV was fantastic for a laugh, and the performers were hilariously interactive, however unfortunately Darcelle herself wasn’t there as she was home for the Thanksgiving period; nonetheless still worthwhile entertainment. Tickets are $20. Just next door to Darcelle’s is a donut store, ‘Voodoo donuts’ they are claimed to be Portland’s best donuts, I tried many attempts to visit this store but the line was always out the door and around the corner. So nonetheless I was unable to visit, but if you get a chance you should definitely stop in!
Which leads us to Thanksgiving, in our minds we thought we would quite easily stumble upon some pumpkin pie and ravel in this American Holiday. (Holiday; duhh Jade nobody works) I had never seen a city so silent and still, even on Christmas there’s still bustling in the streets, it was nice though, it meant the whole city was at home with their families. We received advice to look for a Chinese restaurant; their usually open for Thanksgiving, instead we found a Lebanese and ordered far too much food, although it was greatly needed. (we were feeling quite dusty after yesterdays full day of whiskey and beer tasting and last nights cocktails at Darcelle’s) We wandered the empty, wet, shiny roads taking silly pictures with anything that made us laugh, on the way we collected a few animals following, tried to pick up a pumpkin that was the size of a mini fridge and moved around a couch to create a roadside living room. (oh and of course it was a hair of the dog type of moment, so all this with ciders in hand) By the time night came around, our movements were little, we bought some tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, snacks for tomorrows greyhound, and not long after were out like a light. Our 72 hours in Portland had come to an end, this little magical land captured my heart so quickly, with bag’s packed ready for Seattle, I was already dreaming about my next Visit to Portland.

My First Solo Travels – Pro’s and Con’s.

So I’ve just landed in San Francisco, by myself. This is the first real solo trip I’ve done. I was ready, or I thought I was ready, are you ever really ready? I left Australia confident and fearless ready to dive in to the depths of the unknown, the depths of any darkness. However if someone had of told me how dark the next 6 months would be, I don’t think I would have recognised that shade of black. And if someone had of told me how much love I would feel, how much love I would loose and how much strength in pain I would gain; I wouldn’t speak that language.
I thought I wasn’t one to look for strength within another, or look for comfort in a temporary love. I realise now much I would chase some sort of relationship to convince myself of my worth. It’s not always a bad thing to want that, as long as you’re not hurting the other person, sometimes you just need someone to love you a little louder that day. Everyone falls weak and tumbles to selfishness when they are hurt, just learn from the mistakes that ache your subconscious and when presented with such dark pleasures again, remember the guilt that comes along with that choice, and maybe this time you’ll choose differently.
I fell in love in Kelowna, had my heart shattered at Castle Mountain, spent hours on Greyhounds to visit my Kelowna lover in Banff, only to fall in love with him all over again. I’ll share with you our secret snowy kisses and the way he made me feel invincible when the rest of my world was collapsing. I’ll tell you the amazing moments about falling in love abroad, I’ll tell you how you can’t fault such a lover at the time, it seems like you’ve fallen into your own Cinderella story. And as seasons change so do people, lovers turn pages and grow new leaves and I learnt the chest tightening pain of seasonal love, for all seasons have an expiry date.

When You Meet Someone Special Travelling.

I’ve fallen, I’ve fallen deep down the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole of silly kisses and hand holding, that wonderful, but sickening to all that are watching, place of goggling eyes and kisses on cheeks. I did not do climb down this hole, I did not move slowly, hell, I didn’t even know the hole was there. I tripped and plunged into the depths of this fairytale. And once again have found myself has Alice in her Wonderland.
The scariest thing about happiness though, is it has no limits in each direction and it has no issues in moving quickly to each side. It’s more addictive than cocaine, and makes you more irrational than a bottle of tequila.
Sometimes people appear in your life and by appear, I mean the world catapults them right at your chest and you never even had the chance to wonder, it’s always been a screaming yes.
His ‘hello’ became a ‘how are you’ and so then became dinner. And he’s ‘how are you’ soon seemed like a phrase I’d heard for years.
Sometimes forever is just a moment, an infinity within a season, time is only relevant to how you measure it.
The most alluring beauty of our greeting was within our first kiss, for our first kiss was greeted with a countdown of goodbye; as the world was calling us places. He swiftly brushed goodbye aside and grasped my hand instead and he whole heartedly dived to the depths of the ocean, instead of floating to the shoreline that was singing. We did not ignore the fact that the shoreline was drawing nearer, however we did not let it taint the depths we had time to plunge to. Darkness is often thought of as a terrible place; I love the darkness for you cannot see what is ahead. I could not see the most dazzling place that we were swimming right into.
The thing about being blind is it makes you curious. It makes you want to ask a thousand questions. But let me ask you this. Does any answer to these questions please you? Is there a particular answer you wish to hear? By knowing the answers to the questions does it make you any happier? I bet you don’t even know what you want the answer to be. So just swim, just dive, worry about the surface when it’s time to take a breath.
With him, I understand a language that I never learnt, we communicate without words, we know the answers to the questions that we haven’t asked. There is no certainty of time or places or spaces or lengths, I am not fearful for the what if’s or maybe’s or why’s for he is answer enough.
I know he’d never take away from me, and I would never change him. We are both two circles that are making a cylinder together rather than a 2D shape. We are both a whole circle that can give a little when the circle needs to be an oval for a while. I’ve always thought it silly to look for another piece to fix your broken shape. If you are broken, you must mend to become whole again, then you can swap parts to create patterns. If you use another person’s half circle to mend yourself, you will be torn apart again when the shape leaves or grows it’s own half or finds another half that maybe fits the puzzle a little better.
 I did not ask for him to arrive, I did not look or wait or wish and therefore happiness came and happiness was not missing when he was not there. If he was to leave I will not deny that he would also take some happiness with him, but he would not take it all.
I did not ask him to buy the ticket to the flight that I am on, that leaves in 2 weeks, but he did. And it makes my chest flutter from the happiness that came with that gesture. And you must be thinking ‘Well come on, do you really need to ask questions if he’s making such grand expressions?’ And my answer to you is a plane ticket isn’t a promise, this plane ticket extends our infinity for another month. You may collect the ticket stubs of the places you’ve been to with your lover, I prefer to share the stamps in our passports.
I am happy, I am intoxicated with ecstasy. He is him and I am me and together that works splendidly right now. Fear is only excitement without breath, so just breath. So here I welcome him to my world and to my adventures, and I introduce you to Rowan.

The beginning of the end.

November 2012… Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘is this really how it’s meant to be?’Is this how other people feel?’ ‘Is he really THE one?’ God please no he can’t really be the one. 

And somehow you find yourself comparing your life to movies. Because heck! you know your friends have gotta be stretching the truth on their perfect little relationship. And before you know it, you’re standing on stage with the stupid little square hat and a degree in your hand wondering how on earth you ended up here. Not to mention your aspirations and goals now have nothing to do with your degree!

And then maybe you’ll look at your partner, and all the things that use to seem so god damn cute, will now uplift every nail. You’ll find yourself staring at them with such a disgusted look on your face, and suddenly you snap out of the stare, and think Jesus when did I become such a bitch.

When did life become so cold?

So you search and reach for something, anything that will bring life back into life. Looking for a bandaid to cover the scar for a while, pretending that it’s just a cut healing. And you’ll notice your friends will start having babies, they start getting hitched and buying houses and pets. And you hope to dear god that its an action full of love and its not another bandaid. Another god damn bandaid.

I fell for the bandaid, and I booked a trip with that guy; the bandaid guy… I booked the trip after almost 2 years together, I booked it 6 months in advance, 5 months before my 21st birthday and two days prior to takeoff, the bandaid fell off. He yelled and I cried, and we broke up. And two days later we still went on the god damn bandaid trip, a two month trip where he tried to buy my love back or scare me back into the place I was slowly climbing out from.

And you don’t realise it at the time, but it’s the beginning of the end, and all ends lead to new beginnings, and somehow you get incredible lost on that journey, but I assure you, its still the path that will get you to a new beginning. And thats all you need to know. So lets start this story in November 2012.

About me.



Jade Violet

24 years || Traveller || Australian || Musician || Snowboarder

The previous few years have included the highest highs and the lowest lows. From dining in some of the world’s leading restaurants to surviving on two minute noodles for six weeks with $2.93 in my bank account. My Ex – boyfriend barraging my passport at me in Times Square on New Years Eve, later to be escorted home by the police.

Living in a trailer through a canadian winter, the heating of that trailer ceasing in -48 degrees & the trailer door being frozen shut. Immense loneliness, grief & love, to then seek suffice in sex with strangers.

Ten hours in a Tim Hortons. Airport security in eleven minutes. Drunken airport check ins & oscar winning performances to get excess baggage through. Tears in showers, many tears. Multiple jobs, minimal sleep. Working hard and meeting him. And suddenly the skies looked bigger and the stars brighter.

Pretend honeymoons for free room upgrades. Refusal of entry to Vietnam & bunkering down in Malaysia. Trekking through Myanmar when the country shuts down for election. Booking flights to the other side of the world 4 hours before departure.

Convincing Etihad on Christmas eve, to put me on a flight for free from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne because they made me miss my leg to Kuala Lumpur. And they did.

The most indurated, vexatious time of my life, with too many goodbyes.


The most incomparable, peerless adventure I could have ever started.

My First Journal Entry Travelling Solo.


15th November 2013

Hello Journal I have never kept.

So I flew Sydney- San Francisco today (it’s actually the 16th at about 2am and I’m currently drunk)passport.jpg

I flew in on a very full plane today, couldn’t see a spare seat, in fact the flight was quite full of Asians, which is odd for this trip I’ve flown many of times before. One lady caught my attention, she looked to me like an Indonesian but I could be wrong. She had her foot up on the side of the chair  and was squatting on the chair with her other foot, yet somehow looked very comfortable. I took the isle seat just across from her isle and noticed the guy sitting beside looked very ‘snow bum’ like, I knew he would have been going over for the snow season, but I was too scared to ask. leaf.jpg

This was my first time travelling solo and I was trying to become a little more outgoing and friendly. But the thought of starting a conversation with a stranger overwhelmed me. I knew it was silly but every time I tried to speak nothing came out. So instead for the 13 hour flight I sat in silence.

Customs took a long time, as I mentioned before there were a lot of Asians and from what I could see they were causing a bit of a hold up from their lack of English speaking and writing skills. It took me 2 hours to get through, and who should I be standing next to, but the snow bum again. plane

Seriously I really need to pull my act together, how am I going to make any friends if I can’t even say hi to a stranger??!

“Are you working the snow season, you look like a bit of a snow bum?”

He was, we didn’t chat much. But I did it, one step at a time eh?

I took the shuttle to the hostel (Green Tortoise) and was still feeling very nervous, there weren’t  many people about, so I took a nap and waited for my dorm mates to arrive. But they didn’t.

At 4.30pm I went downstairs to help with dinner. The Green Tortoise hostel offers free dinner 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday in SF) and If you help cook the dinner they chuck you a few free beers! One of the many reasons green tortoise is my favourite hostel in the world.

sf.jpgI introduced myself the Chef, an Italian man called Agedio (Well that’s how it sounded..) Who rambled on about my beauty and followed me around the kitchen telling me how one day he would marry me, he made me laugh. We cooked tacos and I tell you what they were some of the best tacos I’ve eaten and for FREE! I noticed a few guys jamming in the corner but was still too nervous to say anything, however one of the girls that noticed I walked in with the guitar asked me about it and went and told the guys with guitars. Soon enough they were all calling me over to play, a few strums into the sing and hostel reception came over and asked me to play a gig for Monday night! (this was a bit of a booster for me)

pasc.jpgDinner was had and friends were made. I met two girls Siri and Pasc who were both staying in my dorm room. And the three of us headed out in search of alcohol and found a bottle of Smirnoff for $17. We wandered the streets and stopped outside the church of scientology making jokes about how we wanted to go inside. Little did we know that someone from the church was listening into our conversation and thought we were being serious, he came down to us and insisted we came inside. Feeling a little guilty and slightly obliged we followed inside, giggling like the drunk young girls we were, not to mention we had alcohol stuffed in our jackets. After 10 minutes we eventually found the courage to explain we weren’t interested  and hurried back to the hostel to drink with the others. Agedio appeared again and joined with us to drink, telling us stories about how he smuggles weed across the Mexican border in his underwear.

pasc2.jpgNext thing I know, there guys in ponchos selling brownies and all sorts, yet no one seemed to think this was unusual.  We headed out looking for a club and on the way started talking to some police offices who then proceeded to tell us the places we should go tonight. We went into gay bars and reggae bars – collecting strange characters on the way and eventually found our way to a saloon which was San Fran’s oldest bar. Pasc and I created a lot of attention for ourselves and I received many compliments on my freshly bright red hair- I had been blonde my entire life. And I needed to make some drastic changed to my life.

And that was my first day travelling solo.