Today was purely awesome. Last night I went home early and the men went bowling. When they got home I was asleep and it must have been around two in the morning. Avi stumbled over to my bed and shook me awake to tell me some great fucking news. He said, “Laura, I don’t want you to wake up but I need to tell you, I got into med school.”
I congratulated him while half asleep and nodded off. In the morning when I came to, I freaked out with happiness and smothered him with love. Avi will tell you he didn’t work hard and it isn’t a big deal but he is really just being modest. It isn’t the obnoxious kind of modesty that makes you want to roll your eyes, it is just Avi. He has dreamed of being a doctor his entire life and his dream is finally coming true. It’s a great feeling when the people you love accomplish their goals.
We slept in, ate breakfast at our guesthouse, and then went to see some waterfalls. The prices here are insanely cheap which makes it easy to see a lot, eat a lot, drink a lot, and have a great time. The day included breakfast, large beers, waters, a tuk tuk driver for the day, and entry into the falls. We paid $11/person (about 90,000 kip).
The driver picked us up at our guesthouse and drove us about an hour outside the city to the Kuang Si Waterfall. Reut and Efron joined us for the day; we drank beers in the water and watched as Noam let the fish bite away at his dead skin (apparently people in the states pay to go to fish spas – gross). We hiked up higher and climbed over rocks towards the most beautiful falls I have ever seen. Noam is a bit of a mountain man and I am not sure I would have braved the trek had he not pushed us along. For a while we seemed to be going off the beaten path but I think Noam had a good idea of what he wanted to see. I trust Noam with direction more than I trust most people. I like to think I have a good sense of direction. I rarely get lost and I can almost always retrace my steps on a specific path. With Noam leading the way I don’t even feel the need to pay attention (probably not the best thing in the world) but he really does have an impeccable sense of direction.
Once we were at the top we had rid ourselves of the crowds of tourists and were completely isolated, staring down at about 2,000 feet of falls. We jumped off rocks and climbed through falls with water rushing down our heads. Reut has some great pictures, but I got a few good ones which I’ll post below.
I think we were some of the last visitors in the park and it was awesome to see it without any tourists. As we drove through the hills on our way back to Luang Prabang, we listened to Flight Facilities on portable speakers and watched the sun set over the fields. Because we received such great news earlier in the day we decided we had to celebrate with a feast. We asked our guesthouse to recommend the fanciest restaurant in the city and we headed there. It was called Tamarind and it was worth every penny spent.
We ordered off their set menu which started with chunky bamboo and vegetable soup and a platter of Lao speciality dips with sticky rice and sausage. All the food was explained to us and we were taught how to traditionally eat the dishes. The main entree was herbed fish steamed in banana leafs, lemongrass stuffed with chicken, stir fried young pumpkin with kaffir lime and ginger, and barbeque buffalo with sliced garlic and leafy greens. For dessert they brought purple sticky rice in coconut milk with tamarind sauce and rice sugar cookies. We also got coffee, tea, and three rice whiskey cocktails with honey and lime. The meal cost us 353,000 kip or $44 total. We left the restaurant stuffed and happy and only $15 poorer.
After dinner we trekked to a bar called Utopia for the second night in a row. We saw a ton of our boat friends there and we all reconnected and swapped stories about our days thus far. It was great to see everyone again – it was kind of like a mini reunion even though none of us know each other very well and few of us know each others names. Our night ended at the bar as we were pretty exhausted from our day of waterfalling and our enormous meal. Tomorrow we might go to see caves or just hang out in town, we are going to see how we feel when we wake up.[twocol_one]