Today was maybe my favourite day of the trip so far; a pretty big title. Which seems a little bizarre as i'm currently typing this while lauren is cutting her toenails with a penknife- i guess you have to be pretty close with the people you travel with..
Anyway, I couldn't sleep this morning and ended up going for a run at 7.30. I'd planned a nice little 5k by the river but ended up getting completely lost with no wifi or idea where i was, but by some miracle managed to find that I was metres away for our hostel and survived (just about). After showering we went and for breakfast, a big pancake with a cup of great fruit.
Later on we went down to get a tuk tuk to the waterfalls. The others spoke to a driver yesterday who said he'd do it for 40000 kip each- just under £4. We told this to a driver who guaranteed us the same deal, then proceeded to drive us around the same road in a circle for 40 minutes trying to pick up other people until we eventually got out and found someone who'd do it for the same price and leave straight away. Felt quite triumphant.
After the 40 minute drive we arrived at the waterfalls. It is a waterfall and bear sanctuary (bit of an odd combination), and we each paid our 20000 kip entry fee and went inside, with an arrangement to meet the driver back in 3 hours. We wandered around the bear sanctuary first, they've all been rescued from poachers and stuff and we got to see them so close!! They were so cute and it took a lot of self control not to climb over the fence to hug them.
Afterwards we ventured to the falls. I was instantly overexcited and remained that way until we left. The water was amazingly blue, and there were 4 or so layers of pools and mini waterfalls around. It was so so so beautiful I may never get over it.
Me and lauren went in at the first layers for a paddle, I somehow managed to still trip over, and then properly to swim at the second. The water was cold but not unpleasant, but due to the blue colour it was very difficult to see where you were going and the ground was worryingly squishy. This was still okay, until fish started to nibble at my ankles, then I was suitably put off and started shrieking.
After a while at the second layer of pools we went up to the third. The others werent keen on going in but there was a large tree trunk around 2 or 3 metres above the pool of water which people were jumping off into the pool. For some reason I decided I had to do this, and clambered up the tree trunk. It was reassuring to see children of approximately 6 jump in with no fear, and I too did it. It was such a weird adrenaline rush that I couldn't stop shaking afterwards- definitely not okay, but it was so fun (does this count as a hobby).
We ventured back down to the bears, where 2 teenage girls who I think were Japanese kept stating at molly and i. We'd read on a website and there were signs up warning you to stay covered and not wearing bikini tops (the rule was not strictly adhered to though), and as at this point I was in a swimming costume drying off I thought this might explain the attention, as a couple of other teenage groups had stared at us too. However after a couple of minutes one asked if she could have a photo taken with me. I was now dressed (I'll just clarify) and obliged, but it was very bizarre. She then asked Molly to be in it too. Who knows, maybe we're now famous somewhere.
I then wanted to go back to the waterfalls while the others wanted to stay with the bears, so I headed back. I walked past the tiers we'd already visited and saw so many beautiful things, especially when I reached the waterfall itself. It was honestly so pretty I thought I was going to cry.
After this we headed into a little villagey shopping area just outside the entrance and the others got food whilst we waited for the van. We were dropped off in town and got some food before heading back to the hostel.
Later we went back out, trying (unsuccessfully) to find the place where we pick up our bus tickets and then got some food and some ice cream in a nice bakery/café. The others got some vodka and we played drinking games back at the hostel (i participated with some pineapple fanta- crazy I know). Lauren has finished on her toenails and Molly is asleep so i should probably go to sleep too.