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3 Day Trek

<b style="">9/2/06 &#8211; Trekking Day 1 &#8211; hot and humid.</b>

Had our usual breakfast and finished our packing. We were picked up by a sangthaew at 9.15 am and then picked up the other 8 people from their hotels. We have 10 people in our group &#8211; a driver and 2 guides, Toy and Mack (UK), Kath and Skip and 2 children, Cory and Lara (USA), Andy & Noelie (London). He's English and she's Spanish. Ana and Jamal, Polish and Yugoslav and live in Germany. Have a great group &#8211; very friendly. Nearly all are vegetarians so the guide will cook vegetarian food for the 3 days. Stopped at the markets at Mae Rim to buy any supplies we needed and for them to buy the food. After seeing the meat sitting out unrefrigerated, we decided it was a good thing we were going vegetarian. Nathan bought a balaclava for Nick for 80B. Over some of the meat stalls they had a rotary with plastic bags spinning over it to keep off the flies.

We drove about an hour and stopped for lunch at a restaurant and had fried rice and bananas. We then drove up more windy roads past pretty scenery to a Hmong village of 400 people. The Hmong are from Tibet. They had a small general store and a phone box. We looked inside this old man’s house. It had a dirt floor and fire in the corner to cook on and a bed at the other end of the room. Roses grow nearby and they pick them and wrap them ready for the markets. We kept driving for another half hour and then started trekking.

We were given a small sleeping bag to add to our packs. We walked for 1-1/2 hours past rice paddies tiered into steps (not growing rice at this time of the year), little streams with various logs to walk over with a wobbly bamboo handrail on one side to hang on to. We walked past cows with wooden bells around their necks and wandered past families in remote wooden stilted homes, with pigs, ducks, chickens, mangy cats and dogs. All the animals were so skinny. We stopped at one home where we could buy cold drinks, chips, local handicrafts &#8211; H2O 15B, Coke 30B, Chips 10B. Two pigs had litters of piglets and it was the funniest sight to watch them feeding. We passed men and women cutting back a forest of trees by hand. It was so exciting and surreal to be trekking and seeing how they all lived.

We reached our village about 4pm. There were 45 people in the village and they were Karen (from Burma). We had a big dormitory with no door and no floor but 3 planks down the middle to walk on and to our beds which were on a bamboo platform. We had a toilet in a hut &#8211; squatting pan and you flush it down with a ladle of H2O from a tub beside you. Toilet paper goes in a plastic bag hanging on the wall. Next to our hut was the outdoors dining area. A long wooden table with bench seats either side. Beside that was where we had a fire and could sit around it. Next to that was the cooking hut where the guides sleep. They also cook and do the dishes there and to reach it you have to climb up a bamboo ladder.

After setting up our sleeping bags on very thin mattresses with a rock-hard pillow the size of a brick and two thin old blankets, we walked around the village to see what they do and to say hello. They don’t speak Thai, but have their own dialect. They wear a mixture of western clothes and Karen. The women wear a bright striped skirt and a tasselled V-neck shirt made out of their woven fabric and something like a towel or cloth wrapped around their heads. The children are so cute and playful. There are animals everywhere &#8211; pigs, water buffalo, chickens, little fluffy chicks, colourful roosters that crow night and day and seem to take in turns to talk to each other.

Met a young girl with a 5 week old baby wrapped up in a papoose, saw a girl weaving armbands on a loom. They had a school room set up for the younger children. The children over 10 walk a long way to go to school and the younger ones have a teacher come in on Sundays. They had a church building &#8211; most are Catholic and a few Buddhist. They have solar power sheets and can run some lights, but most didn’t seem to use lights because when the sun went down it was very dark.

Nathan, Lara and Anna were playing games with a group of about eight 4-5 year olds, kicking a ball, swinging them around and then they chased Nathan’s red laser light. Nathan was very bad and shone it on animal dung and they put their hands on it. They were all squealing and having so much fun. Tried to communicate by sign language and was able to find out their ages. Kids run around everywhere dodging animals and poop and pee on the ground. Toddlers don’t wear nappies or underwear. It was so cool to see how they live and even though they work hard they sit around a lot and socialise. There’s no stress involved in their lifestyle &#8211; they are all very laid back.

Toy cooked us a beautiful dinner &#8211; turnip soup, rice, curried tofu and veggies. It was followed by watermelon and pineapple. After dinner we sat around the campfire and talked. Nathan and I went to bed at 9pm. It was a cold night and we rugged up, but we were still cold. Nathan woke up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. He couldn’t find his torch and when he got back to bed couldn’t find his sleeping bag so just curled up in his jumper in a ball and froze!

Nathan shopping

Nathan shopping


Inside a villagers hut

Inside a villagers hut


The guys we were trekking with

The guys we were trekking with


Our songthaew

Our songthaew


Lunch stop

Lunch stop


Dropped off &#38; walking now

Dropped off &#38; walking now


Day 1 trekking

Day 1 trekking


Day 1 Trekking

Day 1 Trekking


Day 1 Trekking

Day 1 Trekking


Past villages

Past villages


Nath &#38; I

Nath &#38; I


Bridge crossing

Bridge crossing


Hilltribe villager that sells drinks

Hilltribe villager that sells drinks


Homes

Homes


Local dress

Local dress


Hungry piglets

Hungry piglets


Slightly wider bridge crossing

Slightly wider bridge crossing


Buying some jewellery

Buying some jewellery


Our cabin the 10 of us slept in

Our cabin the 10 of us slept in


Naths bed all set up

Naths bed all set up


Our guides cooking our dinner

Our guides cooking our dinner


Local children join us

Local children join us

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Thailand

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