Sunday, April 15, 2007

Day Nine (Sunday, April 15th)

Tax day in USA. Ok, officially this year tax day is April 17th. But you get the idea. I hope my return has been deposited into my checking account by the time I return. This trip isn't free.

Teri and Jamie take Day Two of the Trek. Day One was two days ago but that's besides the point.

We are excited to get out of town because getting soaked is getting old. Apparently, the water is unescapable as all the villagers along the way to the road delight in trying to soak the tour van.

We're lucky that the tour company was nice enough to "make up" Day Two, given our, um, ok, my abrupt departure from Day One. Tung is still our guide but we are also joined by the owner of the tour company and his family. It feels like we're part of family outing which is nice.

On the walk to the waterfall we see some protected bears. They don't quite looks like USA bears.

Then we get to the waterfall. There are tons of people and it feels a bit touristy but since so few of the tourists are American it feels more acceptable.

Tung starts to take us up the steep path to the waterfall. I am huffing and puffing but making the climb. This time, for a change, it's Teri who is tired. She hasn't slept well, she feels lightheaded and she decides not to make the climb. The tables have turned for Princess and Jamie today and Jamie secretly delights in finally being the one with more energy than her sister. I was so invigorated by the experience (of climbing, but also out-energizing my sister) that I bounded up the trail. Tung had to ask me to slow down.

We return to one of the pools below the waterfall to use the roap swing. Teri is still feeling sluggish so I approach the tree by myself. Jamie leads the way today! A little boy is manning the rope and he hands me the vine. I nervously step forward. Vine in hand. Ok, Jamie, you're in a bikini, and there are lots of tourists here and there's a long line. One, two, three, Go. I'm still on the tree. Haven't jumped. Teri had better be ready with that camera. One, Two, Three. Nevermind the countdown, I just go. I hold onto the roap, swing out and plop into the water. It's not exactly top form or anything but I did it. When I splash into the water, yep, my bikini is practically off! I fix it before I surface. The last thing I want is to be "That topless American" in someone's photo album.

The Approach

The Descent

The Splash

Eventually I suceed in getting Teri to go too.

There are some younger English speaking tourists at the waterfall and I start off with the standard opener get to know you question:

Me: Where are you from?

Them: Minnesota.

Unbelievable. I'm in the middle of Laos and I meet Minnesotans. They are Hmong, actually but still, Minnesotans. I'm laughing. I can't wait to tell Robert.

Jamie and the Minnesotans jump off waterfall behind the rope swing. Even though it looks easy, it's actually more frightening.

We leave the waterfall at the same time as just about everyone else so that we can see the parade and Miss Lao will be revealed. We have a great view from our hotel balcony. Teri has a telephoto lense. Most of the parade is just a more organized version of the drenching that has been going on in the streets but then we see the Miss Lao float. Teri and I, being so vain ourselves, are curious what the prettiest lady in the country looks like. Here comes the float. And Miss Lao is facing the other direction. Well, she has a nice back.

We take amusement in seeing some of the Mister Miss Lao shemales.

Other Parade Snaps:

Is anyone exempt from being soaked? Apparently not.

This is a nice series that Teri shot.

That evening we're at the Night Market, discussing pillowcases when the electricity goes out. In the whole town. For the second time. Luckily, I have my little light/clock hanging from my belt. Once again, my dorky preparations save the day. Ah, to be so smug so often. We shop until we run out of currency. Which appears to be theme on this trip.

We were supposed to meet the Minnesotans at some bar, The Hive? but Teri is still feeling a little slow.

I plead with her to go party it up, but she resists. That's totally not true, btw. Teri will always be the party girl.

This day was more exciting than I made it sound. Somehow I feel I have lost my adventure telling mojo.

Want more waterfall and parade pics? You got it. Click on the picture of Teri below (and if you thought it was me, Jamie, then I'm flattered) to see more pictures.

Day Nine (4.15.07)

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