Trek Take Two

Umphang Travel Blog

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Friday was (relatively) easier than the first day of our trek, with a hike to Thi Lo Su, a massive waterfall, followed by more jungle trekking to a nearby Karen village.  Thi Lo Su is 900 meters above sea level, and clocks in at 500 meters wide and about 300 meters high.  We're talking MASSIVE.  It is surrounded by intact rain forest (read: loaded with all the goodies for Tom to point out and dangle in my face, if need be) and "ranks among the world's six most beautiful waterfalls."  Yeah, it's pretty magnificent.

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.
  We were right back to be sweaty and sticky and huffing and yuck.

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.
  Follow?  So we're walking, and I see it first.  And stop dead in my tracks.  Tyl and Tom don't miss a beat and just keep going; I guess they thought I was stopping for a picture or something.  The guide, I can't remember his name for the life of me because it was very Thai and I'm horrible with names to begin with, he sure as hell didn't stop, he didn't see it either.  And then he stepped right next to it.  And FINALLY saw it.  And jumped three feet in the air and shrieked like a little girl.

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.
  Oh yeah?  Isn't that what you said about the spider yesterday?  And this dude just jumped out of his skin and shit himself because it's NOT POISONOUS?  Dear sir, this is where I call bullshit.

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.
  Each night he'd cook up a huge feast with one wok and a gas burner, with eggs and rice and soup and stir-frys and chicken (for Tyl) and a veggie dish and whatever else he had up his sleeve.  It poured again, for most of the late afternoon and all of the evening.  It made for a very nice, rustic dinner setting.  And come bedtime, you better believe I was grateful for that mosquito net.
domnicella says:
Haha, turd.
Posted on: Jan 13, 2010
alexandrite105 says:
dear mamay:

"...It also means I've cracked my head on quite a few low-hanging branches over the years..."

suddenly everything makes sense!
Posted on: Jan 12, 2010
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photo by: domnicella