Brakes out
Posted Date: 7/11/20133:11 AM

Nov 11 ’08
This morning I woke up to the crack of dawn.  It is wonderful to wake up so early here.  Why can’t it be that easy when I have to wake up for work?  We are currently located in Luang Prabang (sounds like Long-pro-bong).  I was just getting use to Thai and now things have been switched up on me.  Good thing I will be moving on tomorrow.

Today I went to the market looking for my kowlam (stickyrice/sugar /coconut milk in bamboo).  No luck, but tomorrow I know where to look and I will stock up!  I’ll probably dream of it, it was that good.

We rented bicycles to ride our 35km to KhuangSi waterfall.  Yeah, I made it about an hour and thought my legs were jell-o.  My head had so many endorphins running I was too numb to have a conversation.  A local villager, his wife, and their 10 day old baby stopped and offered us a ride for very cheap.  They make a trip to the market once every 5 days and today was the day.  They were my angels in disguise!  It was heaven to sit in the truck and listen to Jema talk to him.  He told us about their other 2 year old daughter that wasn’t with them.  She was born something like close to nine lbs (they don’t use pounds but it was 4.5 something – couldn’t be kg, so I’m brain freezing here). The newborn was a lot less; maybe around 4-5lbs.  He also had a runny nose b/c the temperature had dropped in the last three days.  It has been cooler here, especially at night.

Finally at the falls!  I think we got laughed at by some other locals, but I didn’t care, I was just happy to be there.  Jema could have ridden a lot farther, but she bikes a lot.  I thought I did good for what I did  

KhuanSi was beautiful!  It was well worth getting there.  I’m not sure about the bike ride, but the view was one of the best.  The pooling water below was a blue/green emerald color.   Unfortunately it was very cold.  I have a nice film of Jema swimming in it.  I was not interested.  I came to the conclusion I have shoe issues.  I hate taking off my shoes to have to mess with putting them back on.  I don’t like wiping mud off only to try to put on socks.  Next trip, my shoe situation will be very different.

There was a bear country type area along one of the paths to a smaller waterfall.  All the bears had been saved from poachers who neglected them.  It was fun to see them, but sad to know why they were there.  They also had a tiger cage, but the tiger passed away earlier this year.     It would have been neat to see a tiger while here; not so sure that will happen though.

On the path up we encountered a sight that was breathtaking.  There were wooden stairs that ascended along the waterfall.  Many of them were wet and calcified from the water.  It was one of my favorite parts!

We ate lunch at the restaurant that was owned by the Lao family who gave us the ride up.  The food was made spicy like I asked.  Many times, places don’t make food too spicy for foreigners b/c they don’t think they can handle it well.  I can so I have to really emphasize to them to make it HOT! mmmm

After a great day at the falls we had to head back down.  I was determined to make it to the bottom.  I wanted to use my bike to enjoy the weather, green and yellow fields, jagged hills, and fresh air.  Unfortunately, within at least 50 yards, my bike brakes quit working.  One of the front ones popped off and the back brakes wouldn’t work.  Talk about a sense of impending doom!  When I finally got to a flat enough area to stop my bike (which wasn’t right away) and Jema caught up to me, I informed her about the problem.  For a ways down she had to go first and be my look out as to what the hill was going to be like and if it was safe to go.  It was disheartening to say the least.  Finally a truck (the ones that charge as much as they can) pulled over and I was able to get a ride to the bottom.  I wanted Jema to enjoy it so I met up with her later.  When I returned the bike, they didn’t seem too concerned.  They said they would repair it in the morning, right after she put it back in the line of rental bikes. . . ummm

Jema cruised down the hills and I really didn’t have to wait too long.  We went back to the bike place and I got another bike so we could ride to the bus stop.  It was a really enjoyable ride.  We made great time and I didn’t feel like my legs were going to die.   We bought bus tickets for tomorrow night.  One more day here, then I will be back in Nong Khai, Thailand.  My time is becoming limited now and I have to see a couple more places.  Over all this has been a beautiful place and I would very much like to return again someday.

After our bicycle ride we walked around the night market they have here.  There are red tents with vendors lining both sides of the street and that is all you can see.  The street is closed to traffic and becomes a new world at night.
Tonight for dinner: banana crepes with nutella!  The food is to die for.  I think the crepe was more of a french influence, but the change was nice.

Source: Nicole Glenn’s blog – Real Travel
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