I went go karting a couple of weeks ago here in Vientiane. It was really fun and the first driving I’ve had to do in more than 6 months. Go karting in Vientiane has very low safety standards. The track is in an unused underground car park section of ITECC, a large shopping mall and conference center. The go karts seemed to go very fast and there were a number of high speed crashes throughout the race. Parts of the car flew off in some of the crashes, but the Lao staff reassured use to continue to racing and ignore them. At one point other racer dropped his digital camera on the track. It took three laps, with miracuously no one running over it, before a staff member saw it and picked it up.
Go karting is a lot more physically intensive than I imagined it would be. Making the corners puts quite a bit of g-force strain on your body. Overtaking on what seemed a very narrow course was very difficult. There was a lot of fustration and bold overtaking moves, resulting in a considerable amount of crashes. Despite poorly adjusted seat belts and no safety instructional talk before the race, everyone made it out alive and uninjured.
It costs $20 for half an hour of racing. We ended up getting a practice run plus five races of 10 laps each within that time. I managed to come second in two of the races, but ended up spinning out in the other three. Another volunteer brought some fake bananas from the Vientiane’s quasi-IKEA – Home Ideal – to throw on the track Mario Kart style. The interesting thing was that for the cost of those two fake bananas he could have bought four large bunches of real bananas (probably a total of 40 bananas according to my estimates).