This morning for the first time in a long time, I was awoken by the sound of a rooster crowing. I ended up in this guest house near the edge of the Mekong river after walking the several blocks last night asking for each guest houses rate. Due to the chinese new year, something like a billion people have decided to travel around asia this week making it more difficult then normal to nail down a good deal. The wifi at this guest house is dodgy as hell, so for breakfast I located a restaurant on the mekong offering free wifi in order to research my options for the day. While eating a dish of something called Oklam Pork, I zeroed in on some ideas and got some price ranges to work with for transportation.
After finished up my breakfast I offloaded all my stuff back at the hotel room and hit the streets to arrange myself a ride on a rickshaw up to the Kuang Si waterfall. The ride up the mountain doesn't have many straight lines so about half way through I began to wonder if I was about to lose my breakfast out the back of rickshaw, but I hung in and recovered as we got passed the worst part of the road. On the way up we past several small farming villages and Buddhist temples, complete with monks dressed in the neon orange outfits which seam popular at the moment here.
Pulling into the village where the trail begins there is kind of a base camp where the locals setup shop to take advantage of the in-flex of tourists, this was a good place for me to pick up a Beerlao for the hike. After passing a couple bear preservation camps, the trail landed me at the lower pool which is colored so aqua marine blue that it looks photoshopped. This pool had a miniature waterfall and there were people swimming around and playing in the water, further up the waterfalls got progressively bigger until I got to the giant one at the end.
By the time we arrived back in town, the main street had transformed into a market place. Branching off from the main road I walked into an alley packed with street food venders. The selection here included venders selling only specialty items like dumplings or spring rolls, and alternatively full buffets with 40 plates to chose from for 10,000 kip (1 usd). I decided on the buffet and found that the price only includes the veggie items, so after I finished up my plate I found my way back to the table selling jerkey and got some beef to balance out my dinner with some protein.
After the meal I walked through the main street where the majority of market tents were setup and I was drawn into one where the vender was giving out free samples of alcohol. I drank samples of Lao Lao and both red and white Lao rice wine, the latter of which was the most intriguing. The only way I can think to deccribe it is that it was the liquid equivalent of sushi rice.