So after a day on a mini bus, two quick days on a slow moving boat and the coming together of my Laos crew I had arrived into Luang Probang a town used by many as their first real experience of Laos.Before I forget let me tell you what were the main things which stood out to me as I entered Laos, firstly there was the love of sandwiches made of baguettes, laughing cow cheese and various other fillings (I have never eaten so many baguettes in my life and I've been to france which is saying something!), the 11pm curfew (makes a night out a bit rubbish but does prompt travelers to be a bit more inventive with their time and therefore I spent many an hour on the hunt for a lovely little slightly illegal after curfew drinking hole) and finally the debate of how you actually pronounce the name Laos between groups of travelers the world over - S or no S that is the question? I don't think the locals are even sure as they alternate between the two.When we got to Luang Probang me and Kara split from the crew as we were the only two who had booked somewhere in advance but after eating the world spiciest Pad Thai - serves me right for ordering a Thai dish on my first night in Laos we had a good sleep and then woke up in time to check out and move to a hostel just down from my new mates which worked out perfectly as they had a similar plan to us for the rest of the day - there was a waterfall up the road with my name on it.
As would become a running theme the tuk tuk ride up to the waterfall was full of laughs as me and Allan randomly discussed if we were to transform into a river what river would we be? (I befittingly said the Mekong which was beautifully running along side our road at the time - Allan disagreed and after some deliberation decided he was definitely more like "one of them big huge rivers which carve through a canyon or something?") And we all sat amazed as motorbikes piled high with a family of 5, a plant and possible the bottom part of a toilet drove past us - again we were baffled at how slow yet incredibly reckless our tuk tuk was being driven. We arrived to the waterfall and met up with the other half of our group as well as about 10 more people from our slow boat and we all walked up the little hill which led to the bottom pool created by the waterfall.
For some reason I was having one of my clumsy days, which I have actually become renowned for whilst travelling and following a small incident in the morning where I saw someone I knew and as I excitedly went over to see them forgot I was on a patio 3 steps up from where my friend was, so as I walked straight off the patio my arms flew up and my body went soaring down the stairs I should have know it was the beginning of many bruises that day including a slow motion slidey type of fall on the walk up to the waterfall - it was one of those sinking feelings when you know your foot is slowly sliding away from you but you also quickly realise that you cant save your self now.I also managed to trip over in water - on god knows what, slip down another step, walk into the edge of the bed subsequently stubbing my toe and get myself locked into a bathroom that day which was soon overshadowed the following day when I managed to set fire to the thai bed I was lounging on - when Allan asked if I was alright because it looked like my arse was on fire and I looked down to see flames and a hole forming in the pillow I realized that I really need to start paying more attention and stop walking myself straight into situations like this.
Anyway back to the waterfall, I think its probably my fave waterfall yet, its not the biggest or the most powerful but its like the waterfall has accepted that it isn't the most spectacular and decided to do something a little different - "alright I might be a short arse but I can create a pretty pool to swim in, making the most of what ive got, that's all im saying" ….. said the waterfall?!
The waterfall flows into these beautiful little turquoise pools which are clean, clear and perfect on a boiling hot day for a cooling swim.We all contemplated getting in for a couple of mins but as soon as the first person was in we all were in, getting massages from the fast flowing water, jumping off of the rocks and just relaxing in the water. After a while we decided to head up to a pool closer to the main falls where there was a rope swing.If I could have whipped out some cards and marker pens to create score cards I would have because that's basically what we were all doing, watching people climb the tree, grab the rope and swing out.We were all just waiting for a belly flopper (I hate to say it but usually a weak armed girl) who would barely be able swing out before gravity took its toll and they plummeted towards the water making a painful sounding slapping noise on entry and then unconvincingly saying "its fine I'm ok, didn't actually hurt that much" through gritted teeth as their entire body turns bright red.The waterfall created a brilliant little afternoon, we swam played on the swings and took our first group photos to mark the occasion.
That night me, Kara, Ingri and Julie left the group and went for a Laos barbeque - a brilliant concept of a dinner which I fully enjoyed.Ok so they basically bring you a little stone BBQ which sits on the table filled with hot coles, then they pop a metal tray on top which has a cone in the middle, are you still following because next is the interesting part, they put blocks of fat on top of the cone which drizzles down as it melts and you can place meat around the outside of the cone which fries in the fat.Then to top off the BBQ experience they put stock in the ring around the bottom of the cone where you can put veg, noodles and sauces in to create kind of a noodle soup I guess? Oh it might not sound great but its so social as you all whack food onto the barbeque and chat whilst you cook and eat, we had the famous Laos buffalo meat which was delicious a lot like beef (obviously) but a bit tastier I thought. After dinner we walked around the night market having a gander at the paintings and jewellery and then buying mouth watering fruit smoothies for the walk home - any excuse for a pineapple shake and im there.
I had two lovely days in Luang Probang as on our second full day again the group met up and we all headed to Utopia for the afternoon which is isn't just a bar that serves food, oh no no no its sooo much more! Utopia lives up to the name, it's a bar over looking the river with large decks to lounge on - it was during this lounging that I set the pillow on fire - the food is good and the music selection very relaxed and fitting with the scene.We literally spent all day there, some people had naps whilst others ate, I caught up with my diary as the boys made use of the beach volley ball court set up at the back of the garden area of the bar and the rest of us played cards along with oversized Jenga.It was a lovely little day of chilling out and it also meant I got to know my group a whole lot better, we stayed at Utopia until curfew when they kicked us out and we all slightly drunkenly walked along the hill into town to go home.Which was probably a good thing as early the next day we had arranged for a minivan to take us to Vang Vienne for some TUBING!!!