Tad Lo, on the Bolaven Plateau of Southern Laos – Waterfalls, scenery, relaxation. Or So I thought. Well it was good while it lasted….
The day started off pretty normal – Rent motorbikes, drive up to see some waterfalls, find somewhere to swim, eat, drink. Exactly the kind of things I dream about when on holiday. We drove straight up to The largest and furthest away waterfall. But this being the dry season, and a newly built hydro-electric dam, meant no water. Shame, this was a huge fall that would have been spectacular if there was even a little water – What little water was falling was strangely being blown back up and over the fall by the wind, or simply evaporating before it hit the bottom.
After this we hit our first snag – Paul’s bike ran out of petrol, but this was easily fixed with a run down to the local petrol station. Right after this though we take a drive to the Tad Lo falls, where we think we’ve hit the jackpot. A wide 4m high fall, with crystal clear water for swimming, right along a precarious bamboo ladder/bridge thing. Beautiful. We spend Half an hour swimming, managing to navigate ourselves right behind the falls and back again.
Swimming is tiring though, and I try to get out of the water to rest for a bit. The rocks are slippy though, and I feel something under my foot. I try to move away but slip on the rocks. As my foot runs the length of the random object I can feel a hole tear in the sole of my foot – But no pain. Just the kind of feeling you get when a really sharp object cuts you quickly.
As I drag myself out onto the dry rocks I can see the extent of the damage – A 2 1/2” slice right into the muscle fibre of my foot my friend Paul laughing at me in the background. I’m still not in pain, but now I don’t know what to do. How am I going to get back over the bridge? There’s no way I can navigate that bridge, even with the T-shirt I’ve now got tied around my foot. Turns out the thing that cut me was a discarded bamboo fishing rod – also with line and hooks which luckily I didn’t get snagged on.
At this point, seemingly out of nowhere, two young Germans, wearing Lederhosen, come to my rescue. They’ve got a decent first aid kit and bandage me up enough so I can get back over the bridge to find some help. I couldn’t be more thankful that those guys were there to help me. Apparently they are part of a trio travelling around the world, in Lederhosen. Why not. I would appreciate people taking a look at their site………………HERE.
Back in town the man who we rented the bikes from offers to drive me to the doctor. Another person I’m eternally grateful to. He had a bar full of guests watching a Muay Thai match but left to find me help.
And help we got. The doctor was also watching the Muay Thai and didn’t seem too happy to help, the word Falang (or foreigner) was thrown around quite a bit. After opening up the hospital for me and taking off my bandages though, he realised how bad a gash it was.
He stitched me up good and tight – with what looked like 20lb fishing line, covered me in iodine – much more pain than the actual cut, gave me antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, and sent me on my way. And all for only $10, a bargain.
It’s now been four days and I still cant walk, and it bleeds a little. It’s getting better slowly, but I’m in a hammock on an Island in the Mekong – And its a good excuse to do nothing.