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Published: November 13th 2005
Well hello there everybody!
I am safely back out of the jungle- phew! Well, it was an early start on Thursday from our guest house- all in all there were 10 people in our trekking goup; 2 Canadians (a couple), 2 German ladies (lesbians!really they were), 2 German guys, a Norwegian girl and Thai/Japanese girl. A funny bunch really- everyone quite shy to begin with but by the end we were all best of friends.
We drove to the local market first as our guide had to pick up food, and i had to buy a sarong to shower in (women should stay covered up as much as possible- especially as the showers were in the middle of the village). After that we drove for ages to the Doi Inthanon, a jungle area not accessed by any tourists apart from the ones that go from our guest house. Our first stop was a cave- saw lots of bats, and then our guide pointed out a snake so i was outta there! Then we drove some more and then walked for absolutely ages and ages, further and further into the jungle. Again, someone saw a snake (so at this point i really realised what i had got myslef in for!) We were trekking to our first Karen village- at quite a pace as our guide was worried we might get stuck somewhere in the dark (eek!), and we had to cross loads of rivers, which normally are streams but it had been raining a lot so they were gushing. Luckily no one got washed away. Finally the village was in sight (woohoo) and we walked thporugh a few paddy fields to get to it (apparently the group before us had been so slow they had got stuck here in the dark!). The huts where we stayed were very basic, raised off the ground on stilts, but quite amazing. We would be sleeping on mats on a woven floor- our guide cooked us dinner and we were all starving so food and a fire was a very welcome sight!
After being woken very early by the local cockrels (thanks) we had brekkie and then set off on another trek- this time up a very steep hill and it was boiling hot already. Gave everyone's legs and lungs a good workout! We walked for a good two and a half hours before reaching ournext mode of transport- the elephants! A bit apprehensive at first, but my God were my legs grateful for the rest. Rode for about an hour, then walked to the Elephant Camp where we had lunch (and luke and i fell asleep!) before setting off to our next Karen village- we arrived here a bit earlier, so we had time to relax and look around the village etc before it got dark It had chucked it down with arin so everyone was soaked, so Luke, me and the Canadians constructed washing lines around the fire out of our bamboo walking sticks. The local children thought we were quite hilarious! Again had a yummy dinner and sat around the camp fire, chatting and being entertained (and entertaining) the local children. They were very good at learning the 'Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes' song! And also someone before us had taught them the Fast Food song (and i wondered if they even knew what McDonalds was!?). Apparently they marry in these villages aged 14/15, although this is rising as people are leaving the village to go to work in Chang Mai and to study, and then return to the village when the rice paddies need to be worked on. So, an early night toninght for everyone as we were getting up very early the next day.
After being woken by the hundred or so cockrels in this village (it was still dark), everyone got ready had brekkie and then we set off today. Today was an easier day- thank goodness, as everyones legs and bum muscles (from walking up all the hills) were killing them, and sleeping on hard floors was doing us Western softies no good! We walked for about 1 and a half hours to where we were going bamboo rafting- wicked fun! Again, as it had been raining they were abit faster than our guide had anticipated, but it was ok to go. We had 5 people on our raft, plus our 'driver' at the front. Matt (the Cabadian guy) was in charge of steering at the back, but after about 5 minutes he lost his bamboo stick so our guy at the front had to work that little bit harder. The back kept swinging out regardless so we were avoiding tree branches as best as possible! We did have bits of our raft coming loose as well, and we got stuck on a tree, which threw everyone forward (bruised shins all round) and our driver fell off the front! It was hilarious! Anyway, we arrived safely (and still floating-just) at our destination, and then trekked for about an hour to where our truck was picking us up to drive us to the village where we were having lunch (about 2 hours away). After lunch we drove to the highest point in Thailand; it was partly in the cloud, but amazing views and a couple of pagodas at the top (presents to the King and Queen from the Royal Air Force). We then drove to a waterfall before heading back to Chang Mai. This drive was a good two hours as well- with 10 of us squished in the back side-by-side, though Matt and Luke decided they would sit with their legs hanging out the back (giving me and Corinne- the Canadian girl- a bit more room)! Finally got dropped back to our guest house- a hot shower had never felt so good! We had all agreed to meet up in the Irish pub around the corner (Luke wanted t watch the rugby, so we told the others about it and they wanted to come too!), and went for pizza (we were craving something other than noodles and rice) before, and most of our group was there too! So we all had quite a fun evening together having pizza and beer...mmmmmmm. We then went to watch the rugby- which was interesting trying to explain the game to Karen the Thai/Japanes girl!! And then finally to bed- yey a mattress!!!!
Today we are just chilling; we are going to Chiang Kong tomorrow, and then crossing into Laos the following day, where we will be taking the slow boat down the Mekong River (takes 2 days but you stop overnight) and will arrive in Louang Phabang on Wednesday evening.
So that's about it for now!x
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