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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Up and Flat

LAOS | Sunday, 10 June 2007 | Views [2422]

Our guide has been a bit of a challenge for us.  It's not his fault... the government tourism manager we contracted with for this trek put him in this situation, so it's truly an issue for the manager.  So we're trying to be patient and supportive with our guide, but it's really difficult when you can't communicate to one another.  Today the rains held off for the greater part of the day, and it was a scorcher.  40 degrees celsius with humidity in the 90% range.  We had 6 hours of trekking ahead, and our guide told us the train would be "up and flat"... hmmm, does that mean a steep slope uphill for the entire day?  We set out, each of us carrying two 1 liter bottles of tea water with us for hydration.  I purified the tea water with iodine purification tablets I had bought for a previous trip to India in 2004, but never used.  We hoped they'd actually work, and not kill us in the process.  Our guide led us through the jungle - literally, overgrown, no path, scrappy thick jungle.  Our guide should have carried a machete with him, not only to cut our way through, but to tackle any of the snakes he found along the way... but lest he was a Buddhist, so killing the snakes was not in the plan for us.  Only a couple of hours in we were covered in scratches, itchy bumps, not sure if they were bites or reactions to some sort of poisonous plant.  We'd ask him about touching certain plants, and if they were poisonous, and the answer was always a blank, confused stare.  We finally asked him what he would do if one of us fell ill, or got hurt.  He said it never happened before on any of the treks he'd done and he didn't know what he would do.  We'd ask periodically how far to the next village where we were to have lunch - each time his reply was different.  The first time he said it was 2 hours, and about an hour later, his estimate was 3 hours, and that there wasn't a village we were going to, just a hut in a rice field.  Baffled we all looked at each other, picking off our leeches, itching our bumpy skin, and asking each other "and we actually paid for this?!"  Dehydrated, dizzy and exhausted, we reached our lunch hut, where a local farmer was lighting up a big bong of some smoking tobacco.  I've actually never seen a bong so big - made of a huge bamboo reed.  We mowed down on sticky rice that our guide had been carrying for two days in his back pack, and o[ted not to eat the meat bits that he had also saved up in his pack for the past two days in banana leaves.  What did this 20 year old know about proper food preservation?  Baffled, he didn't understand why we did not want to eat the meat, and we thought he was offended, so we told him we were all feeling not so hungry; given the extreme heat and conditions of the trek today, we wanted to eat the rice and keep moving to get to our village end point.  Seeming satisfied with our response, he packed up the meat, and said we'd have it later, and we headed out for the last 3 hours of "up and not so flat" trail.  We laid our bodies on the balcony floor of an "Akha" village long-house - the village Chief's house.

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