February 1, 2018
Who needs an alarm clock when you can awaken to monks chanting at 5 am? After packing up and enjoying a very hearty breakfast, we met our guide Cunjo and set off on a two day trek. We walked along a dirt road, sometimes path through farmland and villages. At one village a lady weaving bags served us tea and let us use her washroom. Farmers were harvesting the winter crops of chilis, peanuts, ginger, garlic and cabbage. Ladies were busy gathering wood, carrying water, drying chili peppers and peanuts, and gathering manure for fertilizer. We stopped at a village school and watched some primary kids enthusiastically singing the alphabet in Burmese
Lunch was provided for us by a lady in her home. Noodles with a fried egg, ginger and mustard leaf soup, avocado salad and an assortment of fruit along with a can of coke. Her husband entertained us with stories and San interpreted.
I hadn’t been able to eat much lunch as I was suddenly not feeling well and kept trying to sip water to stay hydrated. By early afternoon we’d shed several layers of clothes and were down to shorts and tee shirts.
The walk was interesting and varied and all the people we met in villages along the way friendly and welcoming. Within an our of days end I was feeling so miserable I had to stop for a bit. Kindly Cunjo took my bag and San my camera so I could walk the rest unencumbered. One foot in front of the other and I made it.
Our host had made up mattresses in the upstairs of her two story home for us. After an hour rest, San took us on a tour of the village. People live VERY simply in the mountain villages of Myanmar. There’s no running water. In fact they go to the river and carry it back in big jugs. Some homes have electricity provided by batteries or solar panels. No one has heat and it gets cold at night (0 C is not unusual). Many have buffalo living in the downstairs while they live upstairs. Everyone has an outdoor squattie which I’m finally getting comfortable using in that I can now hit the hole and not pee on my shoes.
By dinner time I felt so miserable I couldn’t even eat soup. I went to bed and San covered me with blankets and gave me an electrolyte drink. It felt like altitude sickness. Nobody else suffered from it but I guess I could just be really sensitive.
I slept fitfully, worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish the trek. By morning though, the waves of nausea had passed and I was able to eat breakfast. YAY!!
The walk day two was just as interesting and very different. More of it was downhill. Villagers again were happy to see us and very welcoming, all of them fine with having strangers take their pictures. The views were again magnificent with landscapes dotted with red fields of chili peppers
Farmland changed to a rocky, red landscape not good for growing anything so there were no people. Then we started to go down some more over rough terrain of rocks through jungle and forest.
Altogether we walked about 40 km in two days. None of us had any muscle pain or anything so we figured we’re in decent shape after all 😀