Hmong Village Lao 2

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January 24th 2010
Published: February 27th 2010
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Had a shitty night sleep and I’m convinced that humans are not supposed to sleep on 1 inch thick hessian mattresses. It was 3:00 in the morning and even though I couldn’t see the slightest shred of light the roosters obviously could. I can’t describe how loud it was at the village this early in the morning, there was literally two if not three roosters crowing every second. The crowing can only be described as a competition between other rival roosters, who could crow the loudest and the most amount of times before the sun came up. The sun came up at 6:15, then ducks, pigs, goats and turkeys all joined in to welcome in the new day. I’m sure you would get used to it after awhile and even though I have lived on a farm for ten years nothing compared to this. I tried to massage some life back into my shoulders legs and arms and with the blood flow providing necessary oxygen to my nub extremities it was time to get out of the dark room and let the morning sun heal my tired body.
Yummy Bacon
Just like clockwork nature was calling and with the run down from Too-soon the night before on where to go it wasn’t hard to find “just do it in the bushes on the hill” Too-soon said. I asked for a shover but he said it wasn’t necessary just do it in the bushes. Our next destination was Cambodia and I was told never to go off the beaten track because of the land minds and I was wondering whether this was going to be the same. Jacinta had a full bladder to empty but that was as far as it got for her. I walked through the bushes carefully making sure not to step on anything nasty, as with anything I always choose my real-estate carefully and found a nice hidden patch of land I could call my own for 2min. One last safety glance before letting the knees do all the work and I relaxed and pondered on what a fine pieces of real-estate I had chosen for myself. I was past the point of no return when I started to hear rustling bushes and subtle grunts, it got closer and closer until a dark silhouette from a 100kg pig came into view. I was unsure of its intentions as it got closer so I let out a grunt back to let it know I was there. That seemed to be the wrong thing to do as I must of spoke pig and it headed right in my direction ploughing through the bushes. I knew I wasn’t in any danger as the pigs just roam around the village in and out of people all day but the feeling of stage fright was creeping up and with my business almost finished I just needed a few more seconds. The pig inched closer until I was staring at it face to face, I look into its cold dark eyes and he looked into my bloodshot eyes. I thought I might be in its territory or just it just wanted to talk, the only thing that put me mildly at ease is the waging and flicking tail I glimpsed from one side then the next . With a feeling of accomplishment I quickly wiped, and as the dark eyes stared the pig gave me little privacy to enjoy nature for just two minutes. I stood up letting my height be a deterrent but the pig just stood there patiently, I walked away keeping one eye over my shoulder just in case. The pig immediately trespassed on my real-estate and then proceeded to devour the land mind that I had just so carefully placed within two gulps. Within a few seconds there was no trace of me ever being there and everything had just taken a circle of life including the toilet paper. I can only imagine what Jacinta had thought when she heard me pissing myself laughing whilst coming out of the bushes. I tried to tell her and only had to mention the word PIG before she realised what happened and stopped me in my tracks. Walking back down the hill we both agreed to never eat pork in a village again.
With breakfast being simply egg on baguettes it was time to move on and I was rather disappointed that we had to leave so early. I noticed some children digging in the dirt with a small matic or hoe, I didn't take much notice until there were a number a children doing the same thing right across the village. The youngest of children must have been around four years of age but was as skilful with the matic as an adult. With precision they followed a small finger sized hole 200mm deep into the ground until finally using a small skewer to surgically remove the creature within. Carefully, the child manipulated the stick until a rather large cricket immerged from the small burrow and with one quick swipe of the hand was secured and retained in a tin can. From information gathered this is breakfast at its best and they would be cooked quickly on the fire, mmmm finger licking good? After seeing what the pig ate I decided to give the crickets a missed and we all started to walk through the village. My feet were still in tatters and once getting through the main part of the village I immediately removed my sandals and walked bare footed. I was prepared to tackle any sort of cuts, bruises, infections and worms they may manifest later as long as I didn't have to wear those sandals again. We walked past the Hmong school and Jacinta was so exited to see the village school and would off love to teach for a day. I was more amazed at the school bell which was an old bomb left over from the war. It was a 1 ½ hour walk all the way down the hill back to the roadside and even though the hills had the lacking presents of trees it still made for a spectacular view first thing in the morning. Jacinta’s face showed pain the whole way down but didn't have the tuff skin on the soles of her feet to be able to deal with the rocks and rough terrain bare footed. We arrived at the road side only 300m from where we initially started our trek and it was a joyous occasion for both of us. Too-soon made a phone call and it turned out we had to walk another 500m before we arrived at our pickup point. Both our feet were really struggling and I just wanted to rest them?
Our Ute pulled up with kayaks on top and we had the choice of cruising down the river or hitting the white water. I managed to convince Jacinta to go on the white water but even I had a little hesitation after doing a so called intermediate cycling and trekking I had to wonder how big the rapids were going to be?
We left the French team and headed up the river half an hour in the ute. We were given a very brief crash course on kayaking and proceeded to drag ourselves down to the Nam ou river below. The water was cool but no cold and we had a paddle around to get used to the heavy boat. With everyone ready we paddled down the river 1 km before getting our first glimpse of the rapids below. Being novices we let the others go first and then followed. The currents drag you and it was hard to keep the boat in the direction you want it to go. The couple in front of us rolled the boat and we were determined to get through unscathed. We approached the massive 1ft high wave and rolled the boat almost before we even hit. We popped our heads up and I pissed myself laughing on what a pathetic attempt we made on our first rapid. We lost our drink bottles and then started to argue on whose fault it was that made us capsize. Our next rapid was smaller but longer and it was time to get it right this time. We argued right up to the base of the rapid on which technique was the best. It didn’t make any difference and we rolled the kayak again. Everyone else made it through except for us and the sleepless nights and sore tired feet started to show on the married as we argued and took cheap shots to the next rapid 1km away. The very last rapids were manageable and being only 40m long we did very well until a huge rock showed up right under the surface of the boat. We clipped the side and spun the kayak around and ended up tipping over again. The kayak came down on my head and between the rocks below and a boat on top I didn't know which way to turn. I popped out from under the boat and just missed the handles on the side of the kayak and drifted down the rapids without a kayak still holding onto the paddle. Jacinta ended up holding on and got stuck in a whirl pool that basically held her there until she finally got back into the current and passed the rapids. By this time I had drifted 70m away and had to wait for her to pick me up. We realised by this time that we totally suck at kayaking, lucky it was the dry season.
We stopped for lunch on a sand bank and watched the little village kids showing of in the water. We carried on paddling down the rapid less river for 5km passing water buffalo, fisherman and kids in the river. We were picked up and ready to head back for a hot shower, some clean cloths and a good nights sleep.

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