Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Trek

Our hike started in Pai at the guide's office in the north part of town. We hopped into a van and headed north toward Mae Hong San for about an hour before getting off at a neighborhood village and heading into the forest. We were given a bag of Pad Thai (lunch) and 2 liters of water each to put in our bags when we started.

We walked hours through lush green forest on both days. The scenery was beautiful, though the weather was very hot and humid, and that made it tough to look up and view the scenery as we were walking through it.

There were several times when the person in front had to cut down some bush just so we could walk through relatively easy. The guide had brought a knife that had about a 9" blade on it that we used for multiple purposes, including making chopsticks from bamboo so that we could eat our noodles.

The guide's name was "Maam". That's not her real name but that's what she wanted us to call her. She was very good at English and that made it really comfortable for everyone because it was easy to ask questions.

The group was 9 people. 1 woman and 8 guys. A variety from Germany, Italy, Australia, England, and the USA. 2 of the guys were Cole (USA) and Michael (Italy), whom I had met 2 days before in Chiang Mai and were traveling together with them for a couple of days.

4 of the people on the trip got sick (upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting). We're not really sure what the problem really was, but we think it was something that was in the food. All the food was prepared for us by either Maam or the porter that came with us brought it. We had dinner the first night in a nearby hilltribe village.

We played a couple of card games that evening because there wasn't a lot to really do in the evening. We played this game called "blow" where you place a deck of cards on top of a bottle and then try to not be the person who blows off the last card. We named another game we played "hilltribe". It was like Indian poker + 20 questions combined. Whoever guessed the card on their forehead first by asking questions won the game.

The hilltribe village people were very nice to us. They helped Maam prepare dinner and helped with getting water. They also put out their wares on their blankets to try to sell us some of their goods. I know that they were getting paid for us to be there, but I felt bad like we were invading their private space. Out of guilt I purchased a little something from them. It came out to be like 3 dollars.

I got a really good glimpse at their flushless toilet systems here while in the village. Basically it's a ceramic hole in the ground with a bit of water showing. Basically you keep pouring water into the hole after you're done to make the water go down and take the waste with it. You just keep on pouring water into it until it's gone. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it's fast depending on your luck. The water level always stays the same. It's actually a bit weird and I'm not sure how the engineering works exactly.

On the 2nd day, as we were walking back we had to cross through a stream about 20 times. Our shoes got totally wet and since it was raining a bit, everything was very muddy and going uphill was very tiring. Going downhill was dangerous. We were slipping and sliding all over the place. I got a couple of good videos of the guys walking through the forest that I will have to show people later on.

I actually had more fun the 2nd day because everything was so messy that I finally gave up on trying to stay clean. I also knew that when the day was over I'd get to shower, so that was a good feeling as well. After I just didn't care anymore, everything was much less stressful because there was no thinking to be done. I just walked through everything like I didn't care anymore.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home