June 4th, 2019
We all woke up to a very rainy morning and it felt like it was going to ruin the day. But luckily after an hour and a half the rain ceased and we all rented mopeds. We were going to Kuang Si Falls. There was more than a dozen of us and all from different countries: USA, UK, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy…
Some of the people in our group were nervous because this was their first time riding motorbike in a foreign country but we all fueled up and took off towards the waterfalls. We zipped through the citys’ brown roads and motorists, passing all kinds of houses made of wood and sheet metal. From the center of town it took us about an hour or so to get there. Outside of the Kuang Si Falls were a lot of stalls selling souvenirs and restaurants serving Lao and Thai food. We pick one and all sat down at a long wooden table to have lunch.
To enter we each had to pay 30,000 kip, about $3.40, and begin to walk through a path that led to a bear sanctuary that housed 6-8 Asian Moon Bears. They were rescued from poachers that capture them for their bile to be sold on the market. We then walk up some more paths and made it to a very beautiful cascading waterfall that fell down in steps. As we were a big group many of us got separated naturally and I continued trekking with Vincenzo, an Italian guy and an American girl. I put my valuables in Vincenzos’ backpack, take off my shirt and shoes and dipped quickly into the clear cold water. The floor of the waterfalls was very muddy and squishy, so I ended up floating and swimming around. Vincenzo and the American girl stripped down and got in very slowly… so I had to splash these kiddies a bit to get in.
The waterfalls were obviously very beautiful and relaxing. We swam a bit and jumped off some rocks and met up with the others which were at a higher tier of waterfall. There we found them jumping off a slanted stone column, some of them doing back flips into the water. We must of been there at the waterfalls for 3-4 hours before we headed back and jumped on our motorbikes. We all lined up and took a photo of all of us and sped off. We were all feeling good and confident and rode back the same way we came. Some were riding cautiously and others were going along fairly quickly, myself included. We go down the curvy roads and enjoyed the scenery along the way.We were probably about 30 minutes into our ride when suddenly, a pothole covered in brown muddy water jumps in front of me. I must of been going around 45-50 mph. The front tire dips into the hole and I went flying right over the handlebars landing on my right elbow and then my right shoulder, rolling over twice on the dirt road.
It happened so fast that the only thing that ran through my head and out my mouth was “Ohhhhh Shittttt!”
I had crashed in Laos.
My second crash while abroad. And my first in 10 years.
I coughed up the dirt in my mouth and quickly rose to my feet, picking up the motorbike. My first thought was, “I hope I didn’t fuck up the bike.” I then assessed myself. I was a horrible mess. My entire left leg was road rashed and covered in blood, both of my knees were deeply wounded and my entire right arm was wounded and also dripping in blood. I then began to feel a terrible pain radiate from my right shoulder up to my neck.
The others began to catch up and all stopped to help me. I was more pissed off with myself then the pain. I really didn’t want to be causing a scene let alone already embarrassing myself. I limped around for a bit and some of my friends put water on my cuts which stung and burned like holy hell. I said that I was okay but the entire group had a worried look on their faces. Just as I was toughening up and about to jump bike on my bike, which miraculously didn’t even have so much as a scratch, another girl from our group comes to check on me. As she made a U-turn towards me, another moped with two local girls smacked right into her and went flying.
I could not believe me eyes.
Two accidents within the span of five minutes.
The girl from our group wasn’t hurt. But the Laotian girl driving only cut her ankle but the other was on the road screaming and crying. With a gash on the bridge of her nose. We all rushed to their aid and helped them them with everything we could. Other locals began to show up and soon it was becoming even a bigger scene. We cleaned their wounds, had some people interpret between English and Lao and some people in the group drove them to a nearby clinic. I wanted to go with them but everyone advised me to go back to the city to take care of myself, cause I was in really bad shape.
I was dumbfounded.
I was a bloody mess and the pain began. And my whole body was throbbing.
We all drive back slowly (of course) to the city and some of the group splits off to eat. I went back to the hostel with an Irishman to drop off the bikes, where I clean it first and then walk around several blocks looking like a zombie in search for a pharmacy. I buy everything I would need: iodine, anti-bacterial cream, bandages and gauze, and then walked my pitiful ass back to the hostel, stopping at an Aussie Bar along the way. I walk up to the empty bar and order a shot of Jameson and a cold bottle of Carlsberg from the pretty bartender. I gulped down the whisky and the beer and ordered another Carlsberg. I small talk with the Laotian girls for a bit and in five minutes I was gone.
I take a cold shower and rinse off the blood. I then layed a towel in the middle of my cramped dorm and soak my cuts with iodine, biting my lower lip. I cleaned and dressed all of my wounds and collapsed on my bed.
I was out.
I knocked out for an hour or so and I got out of bed in worse pain.
But I decided to meet everyone at the beautiful Utopia bar, which overlooked the river, close to the hostel. There we all had some drinks and then everyone wanted to go bowling.
I tagged along.
I remember bowling very well, even though I was in bandages and in absolute pain.
And I was starting to feel drunk
but I kept on getting strikes.
Vincenzo was amazed
laughing the whole time.
He couldn’t believe I was winning.
So much for Luang Prabang, I thought.
Through the balmy night
A tuk-tuk back to the hostel
And the sweet British-Indian girl puts me to bed.