Noam said that we should do whatever I wanted for my last day on the trip. The gesture was sweet in the sense of, let’s make sure you have an awesome last day. I wanted to go to the waterfalls again which was not an issue since everyone really wanted to go again anyway.
We took a tuk tuk up there at 11:00am and stayed until 4:00pm. It was so nice to have the day to relax and sit in the beautifully clear water, with the sun shining above us, and water rushing down rocks on all sides. We hiked up a different path than we had the day before, hoping to see something new. The path this time was stunning. Avi said it perfectly, even the paved road is gorgeous. Climbing to the top of the falls felt a lot like jungle trekking, everything is overgrown with foliage. Everywhere you look there are large clusters of bright green trees and butterflies flying by your feet. It is an oasis.
The first pools we reached were secluded and stunning. We stayed there for a while but the boys wanted to find a place where they could jump into the pools. We hiked up a bit more and reached a lookout spot packed with people which was more of a photo op than anything else. We ended up going back to where we had been a couple days ago and began to jump off of cliffs there. The entire setting was very romantic, it felt too beautiful to be true.
I climbed through one of the nearby caves and felt encapsulated by its beauty. There was water dripping down from the only opening and rocks and moss formed in odd shapes allowing you to climb inside and sit for a while. I think I could spend everyday at these falls and not get bored. I jumped off rocks a little bit but I really do get freaked out every time I jump. I know it should be less and less scary the more you do it but something about jumping off anything more than ten feet is really just not normal to me.
We were joined by a group of young monks, dressed in orange robes with shaved heads. They loved watching Avi, Noam, and Efron jump and started to imitate their every move. It is weird to see young kids jump into water while dressed in long orange robes. I imagine it would be uncomfortable but it is hard to know for certain. Everyone at the pool starting doing front flips and back flips and showing each other up. I don’t think I can even do a somersault anymore let alone flip myself in mid air into a pool of water. After some snacking and more swimming, the sun started to dissapear and we descended the mountain toward our tuk tuk back home.
I decided to shower and go out to buy some things at the night market. I had my eye on a couple of items and I wanted to pick them up before heading home to the states. I went on my own because the children needed a nap before our crazy last night out together. At a certain point in the trip, Avi and Noam realized by not being in New York, and still having a job, I was turning a profit off this trip. At that point, we decided that our last night drinks were on me. It was a win-win-win. I get to feel like a sugar momma but in actuality only spend a few dollars, they get free alcohol, and we all get drunk. Everyone was thrilled.
We met Reut and Efron for Indian food (traditional last night in Laos meal) and then went to a bar to spend hundreds of thousands of kip (“all my women who independent throw your hands up at me”). On the way to the bar, while Avi haggled with a vendor over 5,000 kip and Efron bought a crepe, I laid on the sidewalk and tried to make my stomach agree with my last night in South East Asia. Did you know that Pepsi was originally created as a stomach aide? Pepsi –> Pepcid something something. Ask Google about it. Point is, Avi bought me a Pepsi and my stomach was healed in no time. I was surprised when it worked but nobody else was – go figure.
A walk to the bar and some tequila shots later, I was only $15 poorer and very happy. Earlier in the evening I had made friends with some folk from the UK who were leaving town and needed to dispose of certain possessions. I gladly took the gift and offered Pringles as a form of currency to no avail. We found our dutch friends, Alex and Manona, at the bar and invited them outside with us. Johanna was also there and thus we had a little party in the alleyways of Laos. We went back to the bar and sat for a while discussing our various countries cultures and laws. It sounds heavy but it was mostly about drug policies in the Netherlands.
Once again, the bar closed around 11:00pm and we walked back to our guesthouse for the night. We saw lightning in the sky as we were headed home and decided to sit outside on the curb to watch for more. It was a perfect way to end the night and the trip. Luang Prabang has a curfew which warrants empty streets at an early hour. Sitting outside in the quiet town, watching lightning, discussing life, and enjoying the warm 80 degree weather seemed to perfectly grasp the entirety of my vacation.
These boys are really wonderful. I know I have said it before but I will continue to express my love in an effort to explain how great it is to have friends like them. We joke and bicker and laugh and debate and I don’t think I could tolerate doing that with many people for two straight weeks.
We walked back after fifteen minutes of no more lightning and some stray dogs barking at us from the corner. Most all of the rooms we have stayed in have had one big bed and one small bed, our current room was no exception. We typically split up two and one and it seems to work out well. Last night, we ended up all sleeping together in the large bed mainly because of air conditioning disagreements but mostly because I think they love to cuddle (read as: laura loves to cuddle). The boys were catching a bus to another town in Laos pretty early in the morning and I had to be at the airport around 10:00am for my flight to Bangkok. We all said goodnight and fell straight asleep. Tomorrow begins my trip home which I know for certain will have plenty of stories.