26/2/2009 – Waterfalls and Girls Night Out
It was nice to sleep in the same bed, in the same bunk, in the same room as before. I woke up with a smile on my face knowing that I was somewhere truly lovely. Most of the others were still snoozing except for Rob who followed me out to the balcony to get our breakfast. It was a fresh morning and the sun was slowly moving up into the sky and we ate toast and drank tea as one by one the others joined us.
Today we were heading to the Waterfalls and this time, without a nasty cold, I was able to enjoy the refreshing delights of the fresh water. As well as our party of 10, several other hostellers had signed up for the trip so we were piled into the mini bus and a tuk tuk for the journey up to Khoungsi Waterfalls.
By the time we arrived it was close to lunchtime so a few of us grabbed some chicken on a stick from a stall in the car park and we headed into the woods, past the bear enclosure and up past the several pools and small waterfalls until we came to the big clearing and the main waterfall. Even though I had seen it before, I was still impressed. Although I did notice a difference in the water levels since my last visit: it is towards the end of the dry season right now.
The group had become a bit separated but we met up with some of the guys who were heading up to the top of the waterfall. Not wanting to miss out, or wimp out I followed along, much to my regret. The climb was ridiculous, and exhausting and once at the top there was hardly any view at all as the trees obscured the view. And so on we trekked down the other side which was without steps and was at times just vertical drops.
At the bottom I was rather sweaty and ready for some water action so we headed down to the largest of the pools and stripped down to our swimmers. There were a lot more visitors here than the last time I visited and a few people were making use of the rope swing.
We tentatively dipped our toes in and the water was freezing cold. But I was determined to get in there so I threw my whole body and completely submerged myself in the fresh icy waters. It was exhilarating. I swam over to the rocks and splashed about. After a while my body was used to the temperature but the others were being sissy`s and easing their way in slowly. Adam was first up on the rope swing and made some great splashes.
I was getting nervous about jumping off the waterfall but I desperately wanted the experience so I tried to encourage the others to come with me but most of them refused. Only Adam and Nick were up for it, so I lead the way out of the pool and up the side of the waterfall where we slowly inched over the slippery stones until we came to the middle of the top of the waterfall. It was a lot higher than it looked and my adrenalin started to kick in. There was no turning back now, I just had to make sure I leapt as far away from the rocks as I could. I could do this. We agreed to leap together on the 3. Adam was on my left, Nick on right and we counted…1….2…3!
I leap, I fall, I`m still falling, I`m still able to think `I am falling, where is the water`, and then then splash! there is it. I push up to the surface and let out a scream. Ahh, the thrill! It was an amazing feeling. We swim over to our group of friends who had watched us and couldn`t quite believe we`d done it. I was high on adrenalin but disappointed to find out that my jump hadn`t been caught on camera. There was no way I was coming all this way and achieving that jump without photographic evidence. So I talked Nick into jumping with me again and off we went back up to the top of the waterfall. This time I dropped more than leapt and the fall didn`t seem to take so long, but still such a thrill.
The others decided to head off for some food which I was a bit disappointed about as I was having a good time. So I decided to stay on my own and perched myself on the roots of a tree growing out of the pool and watched men and children leaping off the rope swing and the waterfall.
After some time I followed down to the car park area where the group were waiting for food, but it was taking its time to come so I took a walk to the village nearby.
After everyone had eaten we climbed back into our transport and headed back to the hostel. The boys had decided they wanted a boys only night out, which at first had slightly offended us but then we decided that having a girly night and dressing up would be a laugh.
First of all we went to the Night Market so the girls to get some Laos souvenirs and we picked up some dinner from the local market – Chicken on a Stick can never fail. Then we went back to the hostel to start the preparations and tarting ourselves up.
First stop was Lao Lao Garden where we hit the 2 for 1 offer on Lao whiskey cocktails and relished in our girliness. It wasn`t long before we started to expand our party, firstly with some of the guys we recognised from our hostel.
Then we popped next door to Hive Bar where we invited some Irish guys and the Teenage Ninja Turtle guys that we had met around town to come join us. Soon we had a group of about 20 plus people drinking and socialising together. We were pretty sure our girly night was much more successful than the boys.
As it drew near to 11 we hired 2 tuk tuks to take us to the disco. At the disco we met up with our male spicy-counterparts and a fun night of dancing was had followed by a game of bowling.
Unfortunately the night ended with a bit of a fracas with a Lao tuk tuk driver who was quite blatantly trying to rip off the guys. I went over to see what the problem was and I explained to the driver that the normal price was 15,000 kip for the round trip and he was trying to charge 30,000kip. They guys gave him 20,000 kip each and he was going mental shouting at them and at point pushed me out of the way. I was enraged that he was getting physical at me but he was clearly an angry man so we headed into the hostel but he followed. He continued yelling at Adam, trying to grab him, threatening to go to the police etc. He was getting up into Sarah`s face and was generally being aggressive. Ou, the Lao manager at Spicylaos tried to talk to him and eventually he left. It was a bitter end to what was an awesome night.