After PeeMai (thai: Songkran) I found some travel companions other than my backpack. A Kiwi couple Sanji and Catelyn (People from New Zealand), One Italian girl (Gemma) and one Dutch girl(Roos). So we were a colorful mix 🙂 We made our way by bus to Nong Kiaw. It is a beautiful “city” in midst of huge limestone walls, the Nam Ou river and Jungle where ever you look. We decided to camp near the river, which was a nice thing to do, if it wasn’t for the rain in the night…but my huge backpack includes a big tarp, so we got out dry after all 😉
After 2 nights we went on to Muang Noi, a serene place that is only reachable by boat and was supposed not to have any electricity…but we arrived one week late.
Chinese money and a mass of seasonal tourists slowly modernize the country.
At least there was no Internet…yet.
One night and two all you can eat buffets later we started a supposedly easy one-day-trek to the next small village Ban HoySien , that really did not have electricity yet (at least only self produced)
On our way there we got to know about a tribal village that was “only” 3h trek after HoySien.
There we asked the guest house owner for the way and got a really confusing description that got us almost killed… am i exagerating? A little maybe. But if we did not have a guardian angel in the form of a local hunter appear to us, we would have walked straight into…..Damn, i almost took away the suspension.
We only saw what was coming after one more hour of walking, but i cannot make you read for one hour, can i?
The Hunter told us with an relieved face (relieved that he found us) , that the Village we were looking for was the other direction.
When we were asking what was in the way we were going he made a motion with his hands and said something like “Fire-fire” and “No-No”
We just trusted his directions and walked back, almost lost our path again and then we saw the other side of the valley lit up in flames.
It was the biggest fire i have ever seen…by far. I think the flames were about 7-8 meters high, and covered a huge area!
After we recovered from this shock, we went on…to find ourselves in the next tricky situation.
You probably know how the Lonly Planet advertises it can get you “off the beaten track” well we were literally looking for it…there was just no pathway anymore. Leeches were everywhere, crawling through the holes made for shoe laces…brrr
but we found a promising path after wading through 50m of creek…and it seemed to be the right.
We were so relieved when a Tribe couple came along this path to tell us we were back on track.
But soon our water reserves, which were not planned for a 5h but for a 3h trek, were exausted. That’s when our second guardian angel appeared, he brought us all the way to the Kamu-village showed us a small creek to refill the water (no i did not get sick from it…and it was better than dying of thirst 😉 )
The Village Ban KiuKaan is a barren, a little bit depressing place.
Everything is done for survival, the men are hunters, the women collect bamboo.
It is self-sufficient, but its not an easy life on top of the mountain.
But the children develop games anyways, with what ever they have, in this case two big flat round seeds…for a game at which i am not very good at 😀
I tried my best.
The next day we walked to Ban Hatsepui, a long but easy trek, we were really relieved after all this walking in the sun with about 39 degrees to see the Nam Ou.
Ban Hatsepui is a much more happy place, the grounds seem to be fertile, the river is directly adjacent and the children have an open smile on their faces. In short it was way easier to get integrated in the children’s activities, then in the Kamu-village. They actually invited us to play their games.
Finding a stone on the rocky riverbed, that is thrown in again and again (wow these kiddies are fabulous swimmers…butterfly, freestyle etc. with 8 years) or shooting slingshots at supposedly impossible targets.
Games i guess, that will help in later life…but so easygoing.
I really enjoyed this village. Teaching them cardgames, juggling, getting shown around in town, painting fingernails, running around etc. just having a lot of fun together.
And the Adults watched happily somebody is finally powering out their children 😀
Then we took the morning boat back to Muang Noi, and relaxed there for a few days.
And the rainy season started….but thats stuff for the next entry 😛
Now our group splitt, me and Roos have a hitchhiking competition with the other three. Who can reach Tachek first…bad only that it seems to be raining every day 😕
we will see
So long Ole