As a group we jumped in pick up trucks and headed into the outskirts of the jungle.
First stop: Elephant riding; What an experience! By this point it wa pouring with rain so our ride was a lot wetter than we would have hoped for. It wasn't quite going to be a short 15 minute gentle walk on flat ground, but quite the opposite. The rain had caused knee deep mud, not just for us but for the elephant too which resulted his back legs often sliding around when walking up and down what felt like hills of about 25 degree gradient. By the end of the 45 minute ride we were both drenched and wet clothes were not the best way to start our 3 day trek!
Second stop: Waterfall & Lunch; We stopped off for lunch at a beautiful waterfall, me and a few other dare devils went in which was fun until a stone fell from the top bruizing my back and I could barely lift my right arm for the remainder of the day. Luckily Nat was on hand with some witch hazel.
Village One: After more soaked clothes we headed deeper into the jungle with a 2hr trek to our first village stop. This was our first real taste of how the locals live and survive and it was quite something. Despite not having electricity or a proper shower we were soon bathing in the river and this is when it happened....
...This was the perfect opportunity i thought (Nat) to try out the shampoo/soap bar that I had hunted for weeks for. Only one problem....Paul used it first and he was actually very impressed as it acted as an exfoliator and lathered up perfectly! He then clumsilly threw it in my direction forgetting we were in a fast moving river and it was gone in a milli-second! So there I was in the middle of the jungle minus my precious soap! We could hardly pop down to the local 'Lush' to get another one when they dont even have showers!
We helped the locals prepare dinner by rolling the spring rolls. After our Thai buffet feast over candlelight we played games with the locals and had brilliant old fashioned belly laughs and beer.
The next morning one fo the guides took us on a tour of the village, he showed us how the women spend the morning making rice whilst the men are out at work in the paddy fields. It was so nice to see the villagers so happy and with so little. It really made us appreciate how much we have at home.
Five minutes into our 5 hour trek to Village two we came across a local with some worms she had just extracted from a bamboo tree. I thought I would embrace the situation and pursuade Craig (fellow tourist) to eat one with me! Much to the dismay of the girls, we had these live maggot looking things crawling around in our hands and after 3 we both went for it! I strictly chewed on one side, it was actually OK and a bit milky. It was more the psychological damage it caused over the next few hours of walking thinking about what I had just eaten!
We were faced with having to climb what our tour guide Thye descibes as 'Big Mumma' and I would agree that is probably the best way to describe it too. Nat and I were in absolute agony but the stunning views along the way made it easier.
Village Two: Whilst walking into the village we noticed some locals playing football on a field to the right. This was pretty cool as I knew we had a few hours to kill before dinner and after a quick once over of where we were going to sleep that night, I grabbed 'Stuart' (fellow tourist) and we headed back over the field. Well it's safe to say that after a 5 hour trek, 45 minutes of footbally against young fit teenagers was never going to be successful. They even started using tricks on us and one took a shot from the half way line which I was NOT letting in. As I was running backwards towards the goal I approached it a little sooner than I would have hoped and ran straight into it, banging my arm against the bar and ending up on the floor with both feet stuck in the net! With no energy to move and Nats little laugh in the background, I just stayed on the floor and waited for someone to untangle me!
The evening consisted of more games and beer and another sticky nights sleep!