We spent the last days in the jungle, away from civilization, electricity, phones, noises, car horns, comfort and we had three unforgettable and amazing days.
It’s difficult for me to find the right words to describe what we experienced. Words seem too simple and banal for such a beautiful and special experience.
We left Chiang Mai in the morning together with six other people and with the two local guides. The group proved to be beyond our expectations. We experienced such meaningful talks, many jokes, many stories, many songs and we laughed almost all the time. It was a great atmosphere, like the one you see in commercials, except this time it was real.
On our first day, we did about three hours of trekking, while learning how to make hats from leaves, tasting some strange plants and having fun in the jungle, admiring the vegetation, listening to the songs of the birds and accompanied them with our songs.
We arrived in Karen village in the afternoon. We were encountered by the beautiful, green rice fields. The houses of the village, the green leaves and the jungle in the background made me think that I am in a painting or in an unreal picture.
We went down to the village where our guide took us on a tour and told us about the lives of those who live there.
The village has been there for more than 100 years, and about 30 years ago it began to receive the first visitors. There are 50 families, about 350 people. They go to town on scooters on a difficult jungle road, especially when it’s raining. Some people from the village never left it, although there are still five villages in the surroundings. Each one has its own language and has different traditions.
People work the land, gather fruit from the forest and some men hunt for wild pigs, wild chicken and sometimes rats. The guide told us that the jungle rats are good, because they are clean, unlike those in the city. They use wood for making the fire and in the evening we saw people bathing in the stream.
Some youngsters sell bananas in the town or have small jobs there.
Each house has chicken, pigs, white and black buffaloes and some have also cows.
The guide showed us how they process the rice and how to make sarongs by hand. We tried to be discreet and not too intrusive, though the tendency is to take a lot of pictures, try to talk to the villagers and marvel at their lifestyle.
I honestly envied them, though I know it’s not an easy life. It’s so simple and beautiful there it’s impossible not to want to stay there longer.
We came to the cottage where we would sleep on simple mattresses, with mosquito nets hanging from the ceiling them. We took a cold shower, watched the food on the fire, sat on the bamboo floor and helped to prepare it. We ate out on the terrace and when it was dark the guide made a fire and we gathered around it.
At 8.30 pm, we were all in the cottage, smoky and prepared for sleep. It was so dark outside that we could not figure out the space we were in. We covered ourselves with a blanket that smelled of moisture and many other things but kept us warm.
I woke up at 5.30 am, and at 6.30 am when the sun started to rise I went out for a walk. It was so quiet outside, the men were feeding the animals, and the women were preparing food. I felt the smell of the smoke and the clean and damp air, I saw the mist rising above the jungle and I heard the roosters starting to sing.
That was our first day in the jungle… like a story from another time.
Click here for part two.