As I mentioned before, Ricky and I recently visited one of
the largest markets in the world. Now,
we love to visit markets. There’s always so much to see that sometimes it can
get pretty overwhelming. This was our
first market to visit in Thailand and it was a great first indeed.
Shops featuring handmade soaps and herbal balms offered
fresh fruity and floral scents, while the pet section (puppies, kittens, birds,
turtles, sugar gliders, and other exotic creatures) offered a scent not quite
as fresh. Clothing shops, purse shops,
shops for toys and towels and amazing art filled the place. I was dizzy with
the sights and sounds and smells of the market, loving every minute of it.
When I got hungry I snacked on a banana roti, glazed with
sweetened condensed milk, and had a honey/lemon drink when I got a little
We saw artists, hippies, lady-boys, beggars, and everything
in between as we wandered the aisles.
I could go on and on about the wonders of the market, but
instead, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…
A monster iguana. Monsterguana?
An albino turtle, stretching out its neck.
Coconut phone charms
Predator, hanging out with the towels. And a scale.
This kid was having a blast playing that thing and dancing around, watching the coins clink into his basket.
A scorpion made from spare parts.
How did they get that tuk-tuk in there?
Handmade soaps, using lots of Thai scents like lemongrass, plumeria, and ginger.
If you recall from this post, my bike had a bit of unexpected
trouble on our way to Pakse. Well, the bike was fixed by the time we got there
to pick it up the next day, and everything went swimmingly until a couple hours
later when I got a flat tire from driving over a nail. But other than that,
things went great.
Today was also a most unexpected day, in a good way. We
thought we’d go to a waterfall, because there’s nothing better than swimming in
delightfully chilly water on a hot day in Southeast Asia. We didn’t end up swimming, but what we did
get was so much better.
We hopped onto Lady Stark (who, if you didn’t know, is my
lovely green motorbike. She’s feisty and quick.) and headed out, semi-blind.
There were no road signs to point our way, and we weren’t sure what road we
were on, or if it would lead us anywhere. We stopped and asked for directions a
couple of times, using our limited Lao, and the miming techniques we have all
We arrived, much to our surprise, and as we entered I read
the sign and realized that this wasn’t the waterfall we had planned on going
to. Well, at least we got somewhere.
The entrance fee was surprisingly cheap, and the place had a
nice atmosphere about it. There were signs
pointing the way to ethnic villages and caves, but we headed straight to the
falls, ready to jump into some cold water. We were a tad disappointed when we
saw that the path led to the top of the falls with no way to get to the pool
below, so swimming wasn’t really an option.
We doubled back found a group tourists wandering aimlessly,
trying to make sense of the many signs and arrows and paths. We followed them down a path paved in tree stumps,
and found ourselves in the middle of a village of wooden huts with thatched
roofs. In the center of everything was a blue tarp covered in drying coffee
cherries. Take a look here for a 360
degree photo of the village.
We walked past a small hut with a local family sitting on
the porch taking pictures with a couple of the tourists. I think they thought
it would be a great idea to get a picture with natives AND white people, so
they beckoned us in, and I sat with them as Ricky took some pictures. I was a
little hesitant to join because I prepared for the day thinking we would go
swimming, so I was wearing short swim shorts and a tank over my swimsuit. I was
afraid I would offend them being so scantily clad, but they were friendly and
didn’t kick me out of the village.
We soon found ourselves at a tree-top “bachelor cabin” and
then under a small hut with a tiny old man who was definitely the highlight of
He was standing at a sort of
woven bamboo table covered in various musical instruments. Ricky asked if he
could pick up the boxy guitar-shaped one, and he and the small old man jammed
for a while, and I had a go at some pipes and an oboe sounding instrument made
from a single bit of bamboo.
We were in no rush to leave the man or his instruments, because
he was such a jolly fella, and I think he saw that clearly enough. He brought
out a few toys for us to play with. They were more like puzzles, made of bits
of bamboo and string. We sat for AGES trying to figure them out. He showed us multiple
times how to do them, but we just didn’t get it for a while. When he showed us
how to do it, he would tap a finger to his temple and give us a little grin,
meaning that he knew the trick, the clever old man. Eventually, though, we
figured them out. And of course we bought them, because we like toys.
We finally left the man and found ourselves at the place
where we came in. Beyond some trees was another waterfall, which confused us a
little, because the water was flowing the opposite way of the other waterfall.
We made our way along some rocks in the stream right to where the fall was,
slipping a few times and enjoying the cool water on our feet. Here is the 360 picture.
The waterfall we found.
Woven bamboo bridge is probably the safest way to go across a raging river.
The view from the waterfall after crossing the river.
We couldn't believe that we had found this place, and it was
so inexpensive and so beautiful and authentic. It was definitely one of our
favorite attractions so far, and made for a beautiful day.