What I did…
Monday 11th October – Day 1
The group consisted of: Me, Jason, Ed, Anja, Esther and Pete & Sue.
Up at 6.30am in our hostel for breakfast and the 3 hour journey into the heart of the Thai/Burmese Jungle. We set off around 8am from our hostel and on the way Anja got stung by a huge wasp, and I mean this thing could of been a bear it was so big! We stopped at a market on the way to get gifts for the children in the jungle villages. I got them bez style maracas and lots of sweets! We then stopped off for lunch at a road side cafe where our guides provided our 1st Jungle style meal of fried rice and lots of fruit. We drove for another 5 mins after luch and got dropped off. The 7 of us and 3 guides, Toto, Lamo and Doctor O then started our trek through the Jungle. The route was, start at the Burmese border and work our way back towards Chiang Mai. We walked for about 1.5 hours through the jungle until we came to this bridge. When I say bridge I kinda mean loads of bamboo thrown over a huge drop with no hand rails. It was a little scary as I was front of the line… one at a time… steady… we all made it accross, just!
After walking a little further we made it to a beautiful waterfall where we swam and cannonballed for about an hour. There we so many butterflys about it was unreal! We then trekked on for another hour or so through some very thick rice fields and vine like bushes, hard work as its litterally 30 mins up hill, 30 mins down hill… and it’s very steep! On the way to the 1st village Anja got sprayed in the eye by some random bug… turning out to be her day after that wasp/bear?! We were then taught the greeting for the tribal people in the jungle. ABUJA… I say greeting, it’s basically used for everything, hello, thank-you, please, bye… basically substitute any word with it and your flying!
ABUJA… We arrived at the 1st Village (Lahu) just before dark (6pm ish, not one of us took any watch or electrical that told the time, back to nature was the idea!) and got a wash in the river. The river was extremely strong and I almost got sweapt away by the current. I swam as hard as I could against the current to get back but I stayed in the exact same spot. Strongest current ive ever got caught in I think. Eat some more great food on the night cooked by Lamo, green curry, banana spring rolls etc. I got a huge stomach ache after we ate so was not feeling too great but stuck around for the show.
The kids in the village put on a show for us all, which was them singing Thai and random songs to us. Was pretty good to be honest. We then had to sing songs for them, cue wheels on the bus and heads, shoulders, knees and toes. I went to bed early due to being ill.
Tuesday 12th October – Day 2
We all got up mega early to a breakfast of boild eggs/toast/jam/fruit. We then walked through the river that sweapt me away with all our kit on. Bags held over the head, trying to stay on your feet! We all made it accross in one piece. We then trekked through the jungle for about 2 hours walking through more streams and tribrutries than I could count. We eventually got to the hut for lunch. Lunch was noodles cooked in bamboo shoots then served in a bamboo bowl, eaten with bamboo chop-sticks. Bamboo is used for everyting. After lunch we went rafting… one of the best things I think I have ever done.
There were 2 rafts and the 7 of us split between them, no helmets, no life jackets… health and safety would of been all upon that! On my raft was Pete & Sue, Lamo and one other guide. We got about 10 mins into the 2 hours and Jason, on the raft in front, had already been taken out by a huge branch and landed straight in the river, funny as. A tree had fallen accross our path so we had to send the rafts under the tree while we had to jump over it! Took us about 10 mins to get past the tree after dismantling the top of the raft and putting it back together. Just enough time to spot a 4-5 meter Python basking in the sun on a branch of the tree we were going over. Huge! After me, Pete took over stearing the raft with the guides, he got the bamboo stick caught in a rock under water… the stick hit him in the face and sent him flying into the water… another howler… wheres the cam corder when you need it? Another 5 mins passes and we see a Thai guy at the side of the river holding what looks to me like a spear… he’s pointing it at me shouting in Thai! He then throws the f**k**g thing at me! Shit myself or what! Turns out as I caught it… after it hit me in the arm… it was a home made fishing rod that he was ‘kindly’ throwing to us.
The other raft then crashed into the rocks on the side of the river and got stuck. We all stopped to help get the raft away from the rocks, nearly losing Ed down river! Once we got started again there was about 30 mins to the next village. Lamo made me take over the raft at the front while he chilled out behind me shouting left and right to me in Spanish! We rafted about 12k down river to the next Village. I had so much fun doing it, and so did everyone else!
We arrived at the village (Lisu) Toto grew up in around 5.30pm (just a rough guess). We got washed up and then Sue & Pete who are paramedics had to attend to one of the Thai village kids who had cut his hand pretty bad. We then had some great food, thai yellow curry, spring rolls etc. A few beers later and it was time for Happy Water! The face you pull when it goes down is less than happy, the effect it has straight away is very happy… morning after your very unhappy! We made a camp fire, drank too much and then set off a huge lantern that Toto made from scratch. The lantern went up well, then decided to give up and crashed into the bush… cue Toto and Lamo running into the bush to recover the petrol soaked tissue paper! Not a great thing to land in the middle of the jungle! We played spin the bottle to sing a solo song, a little more mature than kissing each other?! My music does not have too many lyrics so stuggled at 1st. Happy Water took care of that and we were all singing like idiots in no time! Everyone hammered! Slept so well, did not even use the ear plugs!
Wednesday 13th October – Day 3
Got up really early and had breakfast. Really long day ahead of us with caving and walking. Walked towards the cave over anther stream and through some thick bushes. Got the cave and to get down was basically some planks of wood wedged between the rocks, not very safe but it worked! Walking through the cave with water up to our waist watching where you put your hand down! We had been warned about King Cobras and also some pretty nasty spiders. Fortunately we did not come accross any Cobras but the spiders were huge! You can make it out on 2 of the photos below! Walking through the cave we saw countless bats that duely pooed on us from a great height! We wrote our names on the wall in clay and then made our way up and out, back to some natural light.
As we got back the guides had already cooked us lunch… noodles in bamboo again with an orange, best orange I have ever had in my life! Next was a full afternoon of walking! Up and down, up and down, and then up up up! Pretty tough walk but you never get board looking around in the jungle! We started walking through some rice fields and then into some bushes about head height. Walking along and all of a sudden my arm was stinging really bad… I’d been bitten! Looking at my arm I feared the worst as it looked like a small snake had got me… if this was the case, depending on the snake I could of had 3 hours to get to hospital… or I would of been out of the game… dead! I rushed to the front and told the guide… yes it’s a bite… poisonous catapillar! Must of been one big catapillar! The teeth marks were about 3 cm apart! Toto then says “some poison, but you wont die!”. Luckily I had no side effects and we just carried on. We then got to the village after a 9 hour day of walking, everyone was shattered… not least because of all the happy water the night before! Eat food on this terrace in ‘Karen’ (Name of Village) on the floor, another great meal. We played cards and chilled out with an early night in mind.
We all decide to call it a night… so we all make towards the toilet for a before bed release… Tiger spider! You have never seen a spider so big in your life! This thing was a monster! It was sitting right above the toilet on the back wall just staring at us! We asked Toto what it was and if we should risk going anywhere near the toilet… 4 hours to live if you get bitten, your choice! Luckely their was another toilet but everyone was still a little on edge! Me and Pete decided it would be funny to scare Esthar… We said we will watch Stevie the Spider for her, make sure it would not move into the other toilet… we let her get settled… I then started “oh no, it’s on the move” nudging Pete to play along “Esther I dont want to scare you but it’s coming towards your toilet” … “YOUR JOKING RIGHT?” … “no seriously it’s on the move!” … Pete then rolls up a small piece of toilet paper and throws it over the toilet wall… “aaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh” … me and Pete could not stop laughing, we were curled over, tears streaming! Esther was not impressed!
Karma then got me back straight away… I got into mine and Ed’s bed area (mozzie net between two) with Ed already chilled out. “Ed have you checked this net for bugs and spiders?” … “yeah sure!” … so I though it can’t hurt to look again… this bug was in the corner of our net! As we were all on edge anyway we decided it had to go… at 1st I tried to burn it with our lighter! Jase and Pete starting to laugh saying I’m going to burn the place down… “just crush it!” … I pinned it further into the corner with the lighter trying to crush it… it did not crush so when I move the lighter it falls towards me! Cue me jumping back and Ed screaming like a litte girl… cue Jase and Pete, safe in their net, wetting themselves laughing! We eventually crushed it on my bed… sweet dreams!
Thursday 14th October – Day 4
We got up a little later, maybe around 7 am. We then walked for an hour towards the Elephant camp. On the way we saw a huge hole about the width of a large bottle of water… Tarantula hole! Lamo: “you want to take photo of it?” … I was at the front… “YES!” … So we tried to coax it out using a small twig hoping it would think it was prey and come the top of it’s hole. It did not budge! So we started to dig it out of it’s hole! Using a branch we followed it’s hole downwards! We got closer, and closer thinking the thing had escaped! I then saw it’s leg in the dirt… cue the video! This thing was huge! At least the size of my hand! Just watch the vid below and you can see it go!
We then stopped at the Elephant camp for lunch. Fried rice around a big fat pig, puppies and dogs constanley fighting with each other. We then went Elephant trekking! It was two too an Elephant so someone had to get the short straw… Toto turns to me “you have to sit on it’s head!” … what the… on the things head? why me?! Everyone laughing… Ed and Jase get on to their wooden seat on it’s back… then I walk over it’s head and sit down! Legs beside each of it’s ears. As you will notice I got no photos of this as I was too busy holding on for my life! Anja and Esther on the Elephant in front have some great ones of me… I will get them ASAP. We went down some steep hill straight into the river… after about 5 mins I started to feel the spikey hairs off this Elephants head, right on my you no what! Sore!! What an experience! Everytime we went down a steep hill Jase and Ed were holding onto me so I did not fall off! The Elephants walked for about 2 hours taking us right to the final village, ‘Lahu’. This was where Lamo grew up.
After ditching our bags we decided to go fishing in the river… homemade fishing rods and a huge net… we caught nothing! We then got showered and ready to eat. What a last meal! Pork, pumpkin mix, an egg plant mix and egg soup. We then had a few beers and waited for the Happy Water to find it’s way out! We had a camp fire set up for us and then we started listening to Lamo and his friends sing and play guitar. “HAPPY WATER” screams Toto! “ABUJA!” Drinking games then began. Blow cards off top of bottle, looser shots Happy Water. Then for the Thai drinking game of Ping, Pong, Phang! Such a funny game. Round in circle someone start… PING… next person in circle (clockwise round)… PONG… next person says Phang and points at anyone in circle. The two people either side then have to throw hands it air shouting “HEEEEY!”… person in the middle is supposed to sit their and do nothing! That did not happen after cleaning off 3 bottles of Happy Water in about 40 mins!
I got up needing the toilet… Lamo shouts “Where are you going?”… “the toilet”… “the toilet is for Ladyboys! you go off their!”… he was pointing at the balcony about 3 feet away from where everone is sat! So I go off the balcony! Beer, beer, beer… bed, bed, bed!
Friday 15th October – Day 5
We were all up early sporting a hangover and pretty tired! After an eggy bread breakfast we trekked for 2 hours… the whole walk just seemed to go up… up… up… it’s was never ending! After about 2 hours we finally reached the truck to take us for lunch and then ‘home’. We all piled into the truck and about 20 mins down the road we wedge the truck on the dirt track. We all pile out and start to push, not budging. We went in search of things to put under the wheel for traction… eventually after 30 mins we got the truck out and set off for lunch. Pad Thai and lot’s of fruit. The only meal of the week that we actually finished… we had to force it down but there was no way we could leave it! We then speant the 2 hour truck ride back to civilisation talking about films and playing the film game… name an actor/actress, then go round until we run out of films. We got back to the room for the greatest shower EVER! Felt clean for the 1st time since Monday morning! Out the shower and the iPod went straight on, just sat listening to music for about an hour… it sounded so good!
Everyone from the Jungle then went out for a meal… Italian after all that Thai food… company great… western food shite! Chilled at the Upper Deck bar round the corner from our place then hit the sack… zzzzzzzzzzzzz!
What an amazing week, would love to do it all again… maybe the Amazon in a few years?! Or even back with these guys in the same Jungle next week?!
Pete screaming like a girl at any sign of a bug
Everyone getting really jumpy by about Wednesday
Being stung and bitten god knows how much
Toto and Lamo
I could go on and on… WHAT A WEEK!
Share The Jungle, October 2010
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