Trek Take Two
Umphang Travel Blog› entry 117 of 174 › view all entries
January 8th, 2010 – by: domnicella
The trek to the village wasn't among my favorites, as we trudged through thick, wet, slippery mud nearly the whole way there. It was relatively flat, and so in theory shouldn't have been as long or demanding as the day before, but I guess being told this ahead of time meant we were expecting a cakewalk and cakewalk it was not.
So at one point, we're walking along, with a local guide leading the way, then me, then Tyl, and Tom bringing up the rear. When I walk (or run, or whatever) don't look where I'm going, I look at the ground. I've done this for years, it's how I was trained as a runner. It's my natural instinct at this point, I don't think about it. (Which is why I always walk past people I know without realizing it until I'm thwacked with something; I'm too busy looking at the ground. It also means I've cracked my head on quite a few low-hanging branches over the years, and on this trek in particular.) You don't look where you're going, you look where you place your feet, and only a few paces ahead, so you know your immediate next steps.
What is "it," you ask? A snake. A big, fucking snake. Black and yellow and HOLY FUCK THAT'S A BIG SNAKE. After the poor guy's heart returns to a mere thumping as opposed to full-on terrified gallop, Tom tries to tell us it's not poisonous.
It turns out the snake was dead. Hence it was just lying there; it never would have just sat there with people coming, we never would have seen it. So of course Tyl takes the opportunity to demonstrate the staggering maturity the male gender is associated with and poke the thing with a stick, at which point I finally snap out of it and scream at him. "But it's dead." I don't care how dead it is. You are NOT poking that massive fucking thing with a stick until I am TIME ZONES away from here. Do you hear me? Drop the stick before I beat you with it.
The village was really lovely. Much bigger than I anticipated, with dozens of homes and both an elementary school and a high school. Granted, far fewer than one hundred people lived there, but I was expecting a fraction of that. The village is growing at an astronomical rate, as was evidenced by all the young children and infants being carried around, attached to boobs or slung on women's backs. Mothers of infants were painfully young, but that's clearly how the world works when there aren't things like dual incomes held as the norm. Tom walked us around and pointed out the schools and showed us a few homes and patiently answered all my ignorant questions.
As always, we dined by candlelight, sitting on a mat on the floor and devouring the entirely too much food Tom plied us with.
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