Day 6 – Thai Jungle – Monday March 7th 2011
After my beers last night I woke up late and only had half an hour to prepare for the jungle trek. We were just finishing our continental breakfast when our tour guide arrived. We loaded onto the back of a pickup truck and drove around town collecting other trekkers.
Nobody seemed to know what was going on, but once the truck was full we headed out of town and shortly arrived at a butterfly and orchid farm on the edge of Chiang Mai. We saw more butterflies outside the farm than inside, so it was more of a toilet break really. We did get to glimpse a river snake though.
Whilst we waited for our driver, a Thai man took a tied up live chicken from the back of his pickup truck. He spun it around and somehow hypnotised it . We were quite impressed. He was quite pleased with himself.
After another short drive we were at a long-neck village. We hadn’t paid for this part of the trip so we just had a look round at the handicraft stalls outside. By all accounts it was a bit like a human zoo, so we were glad we missed that part.
We continued North, stopping off at a market to collect lunch, and were then in the jungle. We had a few miles of rough roads where we got smashed around in the back of the pickup truck. After that we stopped at a dusty clearing and the trucks left. We were now alone in the jungle. We ate our boxes of rice and then followed our guide into the jungle. We started off on a dirt track, but then ended up off road.
After an hour or two of non-stop walking we stopped for a much needed rest at a small village. We had some refreshments as the temperature soared. We were glad to be sheltered during the hottest part of the day. We had a solid few more hours of walking after that and my water bottle was getting painfully empty. I was seeing imaginary things by the time we reached the camp so couldn’t wait to dump my stuff and get some food and drink.
Our Guide “Abba”
Our guide was a total nut job. He called himself Abba, after the band, had a pet squirrel on a chain round his neck, and was full of crazy stories and “facts”.
Abba’s words of Wisdom:
- If a guy goes into the river with no shorts on, a Crocodile will bite his cunt off.
- I work for the government.
- My only care is make you happy.
- If anyone wants Happy Hour then come see me. I got the good stuff from the Burmese border. Not like the shit you get in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
- For the men, there is the toilet. For the women, you go in the bush.
- Watch out for the red bugs. They will shit in your eye.
- Cut up a gecko. Eat it. Then no more Asthma!
This village, although clearly catering for tourists, was also a functioning village. There were people living in bamboo huts and working in the forests nearby.
The toilets were simple holes in the ground. The shower was a blue PVC pipe sticking through the wall of a hut. They had a 7-11, but it was just a hand drawn cardboard sign outside a hut.
We ate some communal food at a massive long table and then sat around a campfire getting to know some of our fellow travellers. Nic and I were chatting for ages to three gorgeous Chilean girls, who all spoke English really well. They tried to teach us some Spanish words, but we didn’t really grasp it.
Later in the night, one of the tribesmen came out playing a strange ocarina type instrument with pipes sticking out. It only made about three notes so he just repeated them forever. It was a catchy tune, which I can still remember after a year!