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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 2

We finally arrived at our huts...it was two bamboo huts - one was the kitchen and where Doh was staying and the other was our own sleeping area. Situated on the mountainside, the huts provided an amazing view of the nearby mountains and a beautiful sunset. The huts were originally paid for by a family in the village, but eventually all the families chipped in and shared in the costs in return for an equal share of the profits from the treks (the families also alternate as hosts for the trekkers). The village primarily depends on its crops and the treks to earn just enough money to get by. 

The kitchen!

The "den."

About an hour later, dinner was served by our guide and our hosts. For some reason I can't remember what exactly we ate...but it was good! We were stuffed like a turkey on Thanksgiving.

After dinner, we turned on our head torch (I used the light from my camera) to hike a short distance to our host's home, where we enjoyed a cup (made of bamboo) of tea by the fire. After awhile, sleep was slowly coming down on all of us and we made our way back up to the hut.

I woke up the next morning freezing cold despite the layers of blankets I was hiding under. I hardly slept during the night as the hard bamboo floors created a neverending pain in my back. To address the cold problem, I made my way outside and sat by the fire to warm up.

As the sun rises...

Our own kettle for instant coffee, tea, and milo.

Breakfast, consisting of scrambled eggs, coffee, tea, and milo, was soon served. We gobbled it up as the sun rose and lit up the mountainside. Afterwards, we packed up our bags and began day 2. We started the day with a healthy dose of hiking. It was still a bit chilly, but as we started walking we quickly warmed up. Day 2 was perhaps the most difficult on the legs. When our guide, Doh,  tells us we have 45 minutes left, we usually make it to our destination in about 30 minutes. When he says we have a difficult hill up ahead, it usually means there's a super difficult hill up ahead. As we trekked through the mountains, the hills became steeper and the paths became more strenuous. I was regretting not having brought any anti-inflammatories with me!

Along the way, Doh was collecting vegetables for our soup later that night. When we finally earned our lunch, we sat down and started eating our bamboo-wrapped rice and eggs mix (what it is, I'm not quite sure). While we ate, Doh was busy stuffing bamboo shoots with raw rice soaked in coconut milk. He plugged the open end with bamboo leaves and then threw them into the fire he started. After about 20 minutes, it was done. Doh peeled apart the bamboo shoots just like one would peel open a banana, and there it was...rolls and rolls of coconut flavored sticky rice! Yum :)

Soon to be vegetable soup!

Doh stuffing the bamboos with rice soaked in coconut juice/milk

Sticky rice on a roll

After lunch we continued on for another 2 hours or so until we finally hit the rafting camp. The accomodations were similar to the night before with the exception that we were at the base of the mountain and so the night temperature was slightly warmer. While Doh cooked dinner, a couple of us played Snap the card game. We noticed that our host's son was watching us played, so we gestured to him to come over and taught him how to play. As he was much younger than us, we decided to let him win a few games. Eventually he reverted to overt cheating...but it was fun anyway. For dinner, we had green curry chicken, fried pumpkin, vegetable soup, and popcorn!

This was the most ridiculous downhill path of the trip. The picture doesn't do it justice.

Same path, different view.

Our second den.

The kitchen.

No flash.

The miracle of flash.

You may think you know who won this game, but you're wrong.


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