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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Day 5 - Trekking, Leeches and Landslides


I woke up on the morning of the big trek in great form..Iwas a little curious as to what we missed the induction but I figured it was possiblyjust a meet and greet with the other trek members.

I knew we were going to be away from civilisation for fivedays so I packed 5 pairs of knickers, three pairs of shorts I figured Id beable to wash some at the camp each night. Three vests and a toiletry bag.  I packed a couple of bars of chocolate andsome crisps.  I had a feeling  we wouldn’t be eating like Kings on this tripso a few goodies were a necessity and I thought that it might be nice to havesome to hand to the children living in the mountains.

My pal packed her camcorder, her camera, a couple of pairsof shorts and underwear, we were going to share the toiletry stuff so that wedidn’t have too much to carry on the trek and share the weight.  She also packed a shit load of chocolate...Ithink she may have had a problem.  Wediscussed bringing runners (sneakers) but decided what with the weather beingso nice there would be no need for them, our sandals would suffice.  Oh and we packed two disposable raincoats incase of a shower and two bottles of water.
We met at the pick up point at 9am and introduced ourselvesto the other members of the trek.  Therewas a couple of Germans, three Australians and a couple of Americans.  There was also one English dude trekking alone.  Everyone was excited and on form. 

We piled into an open backed pick up and headed in thedirection of the mountains.  About anhour and a half into the drive my ass was killing me but the mountains werebeautiful and the view was astounding. It literally was one of the most beautiful things I ever saw.  There was great banter on the bus andeveryone was joking and singing.

At about 12am we started heading up some really narrow windypaths, the truck took a turn and all of a sudden it tipped over on its side andwe all fell on top of each other. Everyone was in a little shock but no-one was hurt and we all started tolaugh.  We were about six miles from thedrop of point.   We all hopped out of thetruck scrambling over everyone and our belongings.
When we were out we all tried to pull the truck out of theditch it had landed in to no avail.  Thesweat was rolling off of all of us, it was totally humid and I was nearly outof water.  I was starting to wonder how longit would be until we passed a shop so I could get some more.  Now I wasn’t expecting a Spar or a SevenEleven or anything but maybe a local hut shop.

It was apparent that the truck was stuck and we were goingto have to walk to the rest of the way. When the trek guy, a thai lad about 20 year s old in a pair of cut offsand a wife beater said we must walk everyone started changing their gear.  They all put away the sandals and came outwith the hiking boots and sticks.
I figured they were just being over enthusiastic  and asked‘will you guys not be boiling in those boots’ the English dude said ‘we were told to bring them last night, oh youdidn’t make the induction did you’.....Bollox I thought...’what else were we tobring?’  I asked raising my eyebrowshoping he was going to say clean knickers and a few bars of chocolate....’ohjust the usual, rain gear, bug spray, toilet roll...things you would normallybring on a trek’  I throw my pal aworried luck...’We’ll be grand’ she said, ever the optimist.  Yeah I thought, we’ll be grand...and off westarted.

We headed up a hill that didn’t stop for about fourhours...It was warm but there was so much to look at...We had all broke offinto our little groups and myself and my pal were chatting away about the tripand time was flying.  I started to onlydrink when I really needed to, not knowing when I would get to the camp andrefill my water bottle.  About 5pm we hadreached the top of the hill and I felt a trickle of water fall down on me... Iwas starting to rain.

I didn’t mind so much as we were now walking down hill backinto another valley.  We took out ourdisposable raincoats and threw them over us making sure that the poncho stylerain mac covered  the camcorder and thebackpack.  It really started to pounddown and I could only see about two feet in front of me.  I started to get worried because I wasstarting to lose sight of the others. The rain was also causing me to slide out of my sandals.  I was starting to slide down the hill.

All of a sudden the mud started to slide down aroundme.  I got swept up in it and started tofly down the hill.   I was coming downand speed and had no control over the mud or the direction it was dragging mein.  When I reached the bottom of thehill I was chest deep in mud and terrified because I couldn’t move.  I had been swept up in a landslide.  I was bawling..I didn’t know where anyonewas. 

My pal ran up to me. She had got caught to and had gotten herself free.  ‘Get me out of here’ I pleaded...she waspulling and dragging me and then the trek guy came up and between the jigs andthe reals they got me out.  I was lyingin a pile in the mud when I felt it...I had no sandals on..panic set in...Istarted rooting around in the mud looking for my sandals...but I knew it, deepdown...they were gone.  I was going tohave to walk barefoot.

The rain stopped as quickly as it started and there was notime to hang around...it would be dark soon. So off we started walking..me barefoot, my pal in her sandals and therest of the guys in their hiking boots...I had a feeling that this wasn’t goingto be as pleasant as I thought..my visions of a leisurely stroll through thehills was not going to be realised.

After about 8pm we eventually arrived at camp..my feet werebleeding and I was not as chipper as I had been 12 hours earlier.  I had finished my water hours previously andfelt like I was going to pass out...all I wanted was a shower and a bed.  My stomach was killing me and I wasn’t surewhether it was hunger or what but I knew I needed to rest...

I sat down at a wooden bench that was made from a tree trunkand had a couple of rusty nails sticking out of it but I refused tocomplain.  It was dark and someone put anoil lamp on the table.  The guys startedlooking at me strangely...’what is it?’ I asked..’there’s something on yourskin?’ Said the English dude ‘Pardon me’ I asked and with that a little Thaichild comes over and starts pointing at this little slug like insect on myarm...

I looked down, they were all over me, ‘Get them off me, Getthem off me’ I screamed...they were leaches...the little kid who had to havebeen about five years old started pulling them off me...the blood startedpouring out of me...aparantly leeches have an anticoagulant in their teeth sothe blood will just keep coming..for those of you who come in contact with aleech be sure to pour salt on it...this would cause it to fall off and stop theflow of blood, but this is not what I did..

I was sitting there, bleeding from my arms, legs, chest andneck and decided I couldn’t wait for food...I just wanted to go to bed..My palgot me some water and carried me to the hut.  Well when I say hut, it was more of like ashed with no walls and a roof.  ‘Whereare the walls?’  I ask....’We’ll be grand’she said..’I need to use the loo?’ I said....she guides me down this narrowpath to a hole in the ground with a brick either side of it.....’what’s this’ Iask ...’the toilet, I got some loo roll of the Germans for you’ she said nonchalantly...‘Thanks’ I said with a smile.....I didn’t want to appear  ungrateful...but as she walked off I mutteredsome words under my breath too vile to repeat...

I placed my two feet on the bricks, squatted and totallymissed the hole, pissing all over myself...As I pulled up my shorts the tearsstarted to roll down my face and I made my way to the hut wondering where I wasgoing to wash my hands.  I sat on thebamboo floor and just lay down using my haversack as a pillow...what a shittyday I thought as I drifted off to sleep....

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