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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Trekking

Monday morning the 3days/2nights trekking started. I was with a really cool and young group of 7 people (19 - 27 years old).
First day: We visited the local market where we were advised to buy 'Crocodile Cream' to ward off all the Crocodiles we'd encounter ;-). After Lunch in a hilltribe village (Lahu tribe) we started walking. After passing through a suggar cane plantation, where our guide showed us various tracks of tigers and canibals ;-), we came into the Jungle where our way crisscrossed with a streamlet. At first everyone tried to stay dry, but we soon realised, that this was impossible and walked straight through the water. After almost 4 hours of walking, the most dangerous animals we encountered were some angry wasps and a few spiders, we came to a Karen Village where we spent the night. It was a merry and long evening.
Second Day: After breakfast we walked for close to 2 hours uphill and although we were rewarded with a very nice view, everyone was glad when the way started to descend again. We had a late Lunch at an Elephant Camp and after a short break we rode the elephants to a Dara Ang Village where we spent the night.
Third Day: After a late breakfast and a short walk, 1.5 hours over almost level ground, we came back to a paved road, it was a very strange feeling to see this road, a sign of Civilisation, after 2.5 days in the Jungle. The Truck took us to the Rafting Camp to eat Lunch. We had 2 rafts built from Bamboo sticks, it didn't look like it could carry 4 people and stay afloat at the same time. Our guide warned us to wear shoes or socks in case the raft became a submarine, now I understood him. We didn't stay dry long, first we had a water fight, with the guys on the other raft, and then the raft started to sway, partly because we were walking around it and partly because our ferryman was helping along. It was hillarious, I managed not to fall over the longest, but then the bamboo stick on which I stood gave away and I fell half into the water. Slowly but surely our raft started to fall apart, the holes between the bamboo sticks got bigger and bigger. When our raft threatened to break into two parts I went to the left-hand side, judgig that this was more stable, I was proofed wrong and fell head over heels into the water :-D. A short time later we arrived at our destination, our raft reminded me of the Titanic, with the only difference, that everyone survived ;-). On our way back to Chiang Mai we stopped at a nice waterfall to take a refreshing shower.
In the evening we went all together to a bar where Took, a local musician and great guitar player, played live with his band, it was again very late (or should I say early) untill I fell asleep.
Conclustion: It was a great experience. We had a great guide who contributed to the fantastic atmosphere we had in the group. We were all disappointed, that it was so soon over, we wouldn't have minded to stay a few more days in the jungle.


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