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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Day 7 - Elephants and an unfortunate German

After the uninvited guests to our hut the night before I got no sleep, absolutely none. Squat. Nada. Nothing so you can imagine the form I was in the following morning.  Luckily it wasn't just me, it was everyone.  This pleased me..It wasn't just me moaning in the morning, selfish I know but in my defence I'm sure people were getting pissed off with me.

I sat back and watched the whole group falling apart.  One of the women looked like she was still in shock, she was practically rocking, one of the others kept looking around her as if waiting for the wolves to come back.

Our tour guide was not surprised by the pack of wolves in the hut, apparently this is a regular occurrence and if it happened again we were not to turn on the torches.  This could aggravate the wolves...No kidding..

I was excited with the prospect of today's trek.  This was probably down to the fact that we were travelling by elephant to the next town where I could buy some shoes.  I was packed and down by the river in no time.  I still hadn't showered, this wasn't because I was a manky bitch, it was because there were no showers.

I still wasn't eating, my stomach had literally closed up..I couldn't even eat bread.  It was like the food was getting to my throat and just sitting there.  When I tried to eat I was in agony, so I just didn't eat.  The mountain kids had taken all my chocolate and crisps on the first night but I really don't think I could have had anything.  Water was even a hassle.  I only sipped, and this was when I was totally parched.

When we were all gathered together we where given our designated elephant.  There was a little box on his back where two of us sat.  There was about six elephants in total, and a little baby elephant who tagged along.  I was very excited, my feet which now resembled something that had stood in a bee hive were getting a rest and I got to sit and have a laugh with my pal.

The journey was going to take four hours, this I soon realised is because elephants are quite slow.  And they eat everything, trees, plants anything green.  They grazed on anything.  If you stopped for more than 5 seconds or slowed up they would start munching.

About an hour into the walk we reached a really steep ledge.  I didn't know how the elephants were going to get around it.  It was way to narrow for them.  I figured that at any minute we were going to get off the elephants and we were going to walk along the narrow ledge.  But no, the elephants went onto it.  Weaving their feet around until they found ground with us dangling over the edge of the ledge looking down onto a 200ft drop.

Again my pal and I were clinging to each other.  It took a good forty minutes to clear the ledge before we were back marching through the jungle with the elephant eating his way through it.  When we reached our destination we were helped down by the locals who made rice and vegetables for the trekkers which we ate while the elephants pounded their way in and out of the water.  The sight of those massive creatures rolling around in the water was unbelievable.

As we finished our lunch the trek guide came running over to me.  'I have you shoes' he said.  In his hands were a pair of black plastic slip on shoes.  They were moulded from someone's foot and didn't bend but shoes were shoes.  I slid my foot into the shoe, it was about two sizes two big but I said thank you to the guide and did the whole grateful beyond all belief thing even throwing in a bow.


The members of the trek thought these shoes were hilarious and couldn't stop pointing and laughing, it was nice to feel like I wouldn't be the moany bitch for a while...We started the trek and chat was being passed about the following day. Everyone was looking forward to getting to the top of the mountain and to be able to build a raft and float down the river where the truck would be waiting to bring us back to civilisation.

We were all trudging uphill when the poor German dude screamed out in pain.  We all turned to find him caught in a branch by the ankle.  The trek guide came running back to us and we all gathered around to watch as the guide took a look at the ankle.  It was vile.  It had swollen immediately and was all bruised.

'We need to call mountain rescue' I said.  I had been thinking about getting them called earlier in the week for myself but thought I might be considered a little dramatic, but this definitely needed them.

'No have rescue'  said our guide, his girlfriend started shouting something in German, not sure what it was but I could see she was getting hysterical.

'We are Europeans, you cant leave him like this' said the English dude.

'That means squat didily to them down there, trust me!' I said, all ready to relay my tale of corrupt cops and mortified hotel staff.

'We must walk' said the tour guide as the German writhed around in agony with a look of fear in his eyes that  I could totally relate to.  The tour guide started lifting the German up onto his feet.. AAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHH the German screamed.

'We have to make him a splint' I said, I could feel my McGiver skills coming back into play.  I sent my pal to get two pieces of bamboo.  I took off the bandanna I had and the socks he had given me.  I strapped the bamboo to his foot and hay presto...he was still in agony.

'Look, these C*&ts don't care what happens you, I'm telling you, we need to get you up and to the camp' I said to him as I tried to get him up along with the help of the English dude.

'This is vile, I'm getting on to the embassy when I get back' Said the English dude.

'Good luck with that' I said back as we both took an arm around the back.

He was heavy.  I had been miserable for most of the trip so a little bit more misery didn't matter, but the poor German lad was in bits.  We tried to alternate his weight between us but the guide couldn't have given a pigs mickey about the pain the chap was in and didn't help at all.  I spent most of the time thinking about how I could just abandon him to walk on his own but my dam conscience wouldn't let me.  We eventually reached the village as the heavens opened.  I dumped the German on a stump and started whipping my clothes off.

'What the hell are you doing?' said my pal
'Having a shower' I said as I stood there in my bra and pants rooting around in my bag for the shampoo

The rain was pouring, it was after all monsoon season......I stood there with the women all looking at me like I was a crazy person.  But as soon as I opened the shampoo and the smell of the sweet perfume and the lathery goodness hit their noses they all started stripping off.  There we were, standing at the entrance of camp, half naked, covered in lather and delighted with ourselves.

The mountain kids all stood off in the distance protected from the rain by one of their huts staring at us.  When we finished the rain was still pouring so we headed down to the hut with our clothes in a ball under our arms to dry ourselves off.  For the first time all week I felt disinfected.  I smelt good and my skin and hair were clean.  It was at this moment that I thanked God that this was our last night in the jungle.

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