Wednesday, March 30, 2005
The morning in Muang Sing found my 2 travel mates ready to 'trek' for a couple hours thru some of the hill tribe villages in the area. I decided to visit the first one, then ride back solo to take my time and all that jazz.
I wish I'd skipped the tribe.
Trekking in Thailand seemed a very sterile experience to me. Cleaned up looking villages, cleaned up (comparatively) people, tourist-prepped. Not this one. Half clothed people (not just kids), a run-down looking place, a more unprepped look than Thailand. That was fine, I prefer that. However, all the kids were begging for money, pens, or candy. Alternatively, they were attempting to sell bracelets; one kid tried to sell me a rubber band. The adults were all offering to sell us pot or opium. A very depressing feel to the place. As though the enticement of tourist dollars only increased the dependence on foreigner money and production of the drugs as an added sellable item. I didn't like it at all. Actually felt as though I were suffocating. After 10 minutes I quickly left. Though not quickly enough to avoid one man beckoning to me from under the roof of his raised house. And I don't think he was inviting me in for tea.
Happier stuff. The scooter ride back was great. I stopped a few times to take in the view; I rode slower and enjoyed myself even more. And, I took a couple pics!
Scootching into town I found my grin permanently affixed to my face and my heart lighter than it's been in ages. Corny sounding, I know. But when off on the adventure of a lifetime (a misnomer. The first of many such trips), heaviness of heart weighs even heavier than at home as its presence is even more unwelcome and uncalled for. Time has passed with me wondering when the pressure would ease, and what would loosen the strings of the burden. It's been happening. And I am relieved and overjoyed about it.
Lao. Magic. Thanks again for pushing me to stave off sloth, my little sister.
That was the Luang Namtha area. I left the next morning for Nong Khiaw to scout out a boat for the river trip I'd 'planned'. PA was staying behind 2 more days for a trek, and entrusted me with making a solid selection. I tell ya, I Pallas Athene musta pulled some smoke trick with his senses for him to so solidly believe in someone he just met, who had no actual plan.
Another beautiful drive thru the countryside and mountains. Though the drivers are slower than the Chinese bus drivers, the roads more closely follow the winding contours of the land and thus constantly throw you from side to side. Many people make use of the vomit bags. Me? Nah. I toss on my tunes and gaze enraptured out the window at the beautiful scenery.
Furthermore, as opposed to many of these long trips, there was no constant flow of story creation or visualization of future events per the usual. Instead, my music coursed thru my head and my brain stayed focused on the scenery and the people passing by and the sun making me sweat and the smiles and chatter of the Lao around me. And on the Lao sized seats on the bus (they are not a large race). It was great.
I'm telling you, something's been stripped away and now....