Even though I haven’t really experienced mountains as I have imagined and looking for, I have at the end experienced so much more.
Living for 4 days in a jungle, where forest was our sleeping room, our kitchen and dining room and nearby river or a small stream our bathroom and a shower, was just so pure and pristine. One would think one comes here for the trekking itself, to walk, to see the scenery, to be able to observe animals and learn about the jungle, but it was at the end so much more. just falling asleep (already at nine in the evening – can u believe that?) in a hammock (protected w/ a mosquito net) under the stars in the middle of the forest and next morning waking up into a misty morning, before the sunrise, at the sounds of the birds is an experience as such. not to mention to observe our guide and our cook how they created construction for our hammocks out of nothing. all they had was a hatchet and in no time construction for the hammocks was there. for the rope they used a sort of a plant / part of a tree…
I guess I don’t really need to stress out that those guys, working here as cooks and local guides are all very simple men. a t-shirt and a pair of pants for the the day, one for the night, a soap and a tooth brush and that was it. trekking shoes? u wish. a pair of plastic sandals, that was it. and with those, they walked all those kilometres of dirty roads and no roads and crossed the rivers, not bothering if their pants will get wet all the way up to their knees – they anyway get dry, or? they even used their sandals to climb trees, when necessary. and I was worried if my sneakers will be sufficient, as I had no proper ankle boots with me…
food supply for 4 days was carried with us simply is their backpacks. so were plates, cutlery and pots and pants. on their backs. do I need to say that they are all fit? even those, being close to their fifties? I guess not. and it is not a surprise, cause our diet was lots and lots of vegetables, accompanied by limited amount of meat or eggs and then either rice, rice noodles or yellow noodles. no alcohol, no sugar, no salt, no sweets, no white flour. and lots of water – almost a detox retreat 🙂 and I guess this is their daily diet as well
speaking about the food: at certain moment we had a feeling that trekking tour turned into a jungle foodie tour. yep u heard me; a FODDIE tour. one evening, when we set our camp in a so called “bamboo hotel” (in the area of jungle full of bamboo) along the river and after we have finished our “candle-dinner” seating on the rocks along the river, our guides got inspired by the river itself. in no time there was a crab on the fire and some moments later fish they caught in the river. you shall see how they grilled them! (my mobile battery died the 1st eve of course – so no photos 😦 ). They halved a bamboo stick, put 6 fishes into that bamboo stick and knotted the other half of the bamboo stick with a bamboo “rope”. when done, our chef found some mango in his bag and voila, fish served with mango – onion salad was ready. next day we also had a chance to taste banana flower curry with rice. I have never tasted banana flower before, but spiced up with lemon grass it tasted just amazing.. unbelievable, I tell you.
we also thought our guide and our chef some english, learned ourselves few basic phrases of Khmer language, went swimming in a large pool underneath a waterfall, had some fresh banana picked up directly from a banana tree for a snack, visited a local school, where there was 6 kids seating in a wooden classroom (one class = a school)… and on and on I could go. because the amount of impressions one gathers on a trek like this is a rather long one.
same goes for this tiny village, when every day there is a new experience behind the corner. be it a cooking class with two other travellers and buying freshly chopped lemon grass at the local market, ordering freshly squeezed cane-sugar juice from a local lady, or simply cruising the village on a bike, kids running around u, waving at you and greeting you with a basic “hello”.
but probably the most unique experience in this village was learning in Khmer language how to cultivate mushrooms : ) But I guess that short experience is worth of another post.
my next stop and adventure: in a remote village close to Siem Reap teaching kids some football. yep, you read it correctly; me teaching them football – even though I hardly know what an off-site is 🙂