Rafting to Lahu

Day VI – March 24

Another beautiful early morning in the jungle, another continental breakfast and after we make our way down to the water, for today is rafting day!

Our rafts are already built, thick bamboo trees tied together with rope. Sit, Sami and our extra guide for the day, mr Wi, do some last minute finetuning with their machettes as we’re getting on in those ridiculous orange vests they made us wear.
The water is calm, not very deep, and the valley of green around us is just breathtaking!
We’re having so much fun feeling like the only people alive, drifting down our own little universe, shouting jokes from one raft to the other, singing.
Suddenly Sami shushes us and sings a quiet ‘whoo’ to the hills. It comes back. We’re focussing to hear what it is. “Gibbons” he explains.
Then we pass a local family having some ceremony on the beach. It smells of the most delicious food and their faces are painted in radient colours, but their smiles are still the brightest. These people are still so in touch with nature, the real world underneath all that we –the western, first world- have hid with our buidings and piles of money. But what’s really more important?

However, as soon as we landed on this little settlement in the middle of nowhere, out of the blue come swarms of little girls to sell us their bracelets and other handmade jewelry.
I have a different plan for a souvenir. I want to give the guy who borrowed me his pocketknife a machete, a real one, with real snake blood and other jungle juices on it. So just out of interest I ask mr Wi what such a thing might cost. He in fact offers his own, which he made by hand, for a mere 300b! I don’t dare risk it yet; I have too many flights ahead of me.

I’ve walked in beautiful forests back home in Europe, in Canada, and would like to say I knew the immense being of nature I can’t hardly put into words, though this experience has shown me I knew nothing yet.

Too soon before we climb in that pickup again, heading back to what is called civilization, and all notice the strong fumes of gasoil and rubber setteling on our throats as we approach the city.

When we get back to the hotel I need a cool down, so make my way to the pool, where I find people decadently sipping their cocktails and a group of 16 year old girls slurping large beers and talking about sex the way I never have; so unholy after this experience, it makes me feel much more disgusted than I did in the back of that truck with all the sweat and dust of the hike still covering my entire body. I just can’t stand being here right now, and can’t wait to go back into the jungle next week; The Gibbon Experience, Laos baby!

I just treated myself to the necessary Thai massage after a trekking like this, and am now very relaxed on my way to the market for some dinner and a good last night with this great group I had the pleasure of spending this week with.
After the quiet nights in the jungle we decide we’ve earned a crazy night out on town. And crazy we got!
First of course there’s the difficulty of finding a bar to each of our likings, but we settle for a rather mellow rooftop bar. We have some cocktails, chats and a game of pool on the poor and torn table.
After two cocktails Sit has to excuse himself to find some midnight soup and his bed, for he felt himself too old to party with us young kids, aka started looking woozy.
We find a red taxi that takes us to a place known as backpacker central, and I’m pretty excited to get a glimpse of what my next few months are going to be like!
I’d expected modern hippies and alternative music, creative people with instruments and drawingbooks; an inspiring setting. Instead I was horribly surprised by the bad music, those club hits they play in places I go to back home only when really, really drunk. It’s just boozy, loud and futile to me. I ask Katie and she confirmes this is in fact is what it is usually like…

Somehow in the end I did have heaps of fun though; I was with good company! And I’m guessing the quantity of cheap cocktails played it’s part…
But now I’m happy I made it home safe -nothing lost, stolen or hurt– to the cool air conned room and am now going to dream of tomorrow morning and not waking up bathing in sweat, and with a late alarm at only 8.30am.

I think I’m getting settled in quite nicely into Asian time and I’m feeling ready for the big adventure; tomorrow move out to an actual hostel!

[this was day 6 of my personal experience with G-Adventures: Northern Hilltribe Trekking, a 7 day trip starting and ending in Bangkok, taking you up to Thailands beautiful North and into the homes of the Karen tribe, which I booked through Kilroy Travel]

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One thought on “Rafting to Lahu

  1. Pingback: Chiang Mai recommended | Meer Tells

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