Mae Hong Son trek, part two.

I hear the mountains are doing fine,                                                                                                                   morning glory is on the vine


Photo: Karen grandmother, wife of the tribal chief

    After a sleepless night on the hard bamboo floor, the pounding of the mortar ( for the daily fresh rice meal ) signals the beginning of a new day for the Karen. Promptly the roosters fall in and before long the village is up and about. Good morning, good morning, good ... As planned, after breakfast Adina returns to Mae Hong Son with Yosa. Before I go on with Dam and Yansoon, our host and our new porter, the women of the village corner me on the patio displaying their handicraft products. I surrender and buy a beautiful hand stitched sarong from our pipe smoking hostess.

Dam knows the jungle like his pocket. As a kid the jungle was his playground. Along the way he points out wild orchids, quinine bark and berries that sub as throat lozenges. He 'demonstrates' how to find and eat the worms found inside the small bamboo. Later, when he hands me my lunch, I carefully check the contents of the fried rice for stray worms. We learn how to recover drinking water form the giant bamboo and the monkey ladder. On our second night, at the jungle hut, built of bamboo, after washing up at the bamboo shower down by the stream, we drink excellent Oolong tea from freshly carved bamboo cups, boil water and cook rice in bamboo and sleep on bamboo floors. Yansoon brought a chicken from the village that he BBQ's and serves with banana-rice soup - eaten with bamboo spoon - and cucumber and tomato salad - finger food. Not bad for a jungle dinner.

"How do you keep the rooster from crowing on Sunday morning? Eat him on Saturday."

In the morning of day two I sprained my ankle. Thanks to the support of great hiking boots I made it to the waterfall where we stop for lunch and afternoon recreation. I have Arnica with me and also apply generous Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ancient Asian healing art I have been studying for several years. From the falls it is less than 30 minutes to the jungle camp. Supported by a bamboo walking stick I make it safely to the camp. I continue with JSJ throughout the evening and night ( I'm not sleeping much on the bamboo floor anyway). By morning my ankle has much improved. After a tasty breakfast of cream of rice with bananas and wild honey I put on my boots and we head out. Fortunately  the trail home is mostly flat through the valleys. We cross refreshing little mountain streams on many occasions and in spite of my initial apprehension I actually enjoy the three hour walk back to the road.

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   In light of my experience, I ponder the following words of Robert Pirsig regarding 'the ego climber versus the selfless climber':

   "The ego climber is like an instrument that is out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He is likely to miss a beautiful 'sight on the path'. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he's tired. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions. He talks forever about somewhere else, something else.  He's here but not here. Every step is an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant."

06:36 Gepost door pieter | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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