4 January 2012
This morning I was feeling pretty lousy which I hoped was just because of lack of sleep due to cats fighting on my roof, neighbour dogs barking, tuk-tuks roaring past, time challenged roosters and temple gongs rousing the monks to their morning devotions. We have a somewhat leisurely start to the day with breakfast in the garden at 8.30 and a foot massage at 9.00. I had to suffer considerable ribbing that day about the young man seen going into my room.
First visit of the morning was to the art and ethnology museum where we learned of the different ethnic groups in Laos and their different dress and customs. There are 3 main groups of people living in Laos: those on the flat lands are mostly buddhist and the other two groups that live in more mountainous areas are mostly animists.
We then went in to town to pick up some lunch from the French bakery and boarded our tuk-tuks for an hour’s drive to the Kuang Sii Waterfalls. The falls are about 28km away but it feels a lot further.
We saw the little villages of groups originally from high on the hillsides where they regularly burn off the forest to plant their crops. They have now been given land and assisted to settle in the valleys to preserve the forests. Their gardens are a delight to see: uniform plots of green amongst the deep brown earth. Teak plantations also line the hillsides with neatly stacked branches of firewood stacked beside the houses and occasional workshops where the beginnings of beautiful carving and furniture could be seen.
It was an eventful journey starting with the front tuk-tuk’s water tank hose coming adrift. We all stood in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere while water bottles and even a cup of tea were commandeered for refilling. A bit further along we smelt a burning smell – a cloth had been left underneath and was smoking, just on the edge of combustion and quickly stamped on and thrown in the drain.
We eventually did arrive at our destination: a bear rescue centre and then for picnic and swim for those inclined in a beautiful waterfall which even in the dry season was spectacular dropping over 300 – 400m in a series of cascades. The water was a glacial blue that was very inviting until we felt the temperature. Brian, Bruce and John relived their youth jumping in via a rope swing.
By this stage I was feeling distinctly unwell and grateful for the front seat in the tuk tuk as travelling around bumpy corners sitting sideways would surely have had disastrous results. I went to bed as soon as we got home, feverish but freezing cold, took a sleeping tablet about 7.00 and slept soundly through until 5.00am when the alarm went off.
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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