Monday, March 30, 2009

Treking and Elephant Riding

So I finally have decent internet access and my pictures are all uploaded! So I will be able to tell you in detail about the rest of our adventures in Laos! Then I will just have to get the Vietnam ball rolling. Without further ado:

We woke up bright and early, had some ham sandwiches for breakfast and met up with our group. We had two guides, the main one had a warm smile and went by the name Mr. Bee. I was a bit worried about the trek when I saw the rest of our group- 4 extremely young guys from England. They were quite nice but I felt old and out of shape spending the day with them. The oldest of the four was “almost 20”. Hahah! The day started out fine but things started to get a bit ugly when we had to hike up a mountain side in the heat. Thankfully I wasn't experiencing any vertigo that day but the heat was really getting to me and I was getting tired much faster than usual. Of course walking up a steep mountainside in blistering heat didn't even faze the rest of my group so I was feeling embarrassed for not being able to keep up. Most of the trek was flat or downhill but there were 3 uphill portions that were quite difficult for me, in particular. The second climb was the biggest and I had to stop quite frequently, much to my embarrassment. I made it though somehow and was so happy to stop for lunch. There was lots of traditional foods to go around- two kinds of soup, fish, sticky rice, bananas for dessert. It was a real feast!

The trek after lunch wasn't so bad but my feet were getting pretty beat up and blistered. I was really happy when we made it to the waterfall so I could soak my feet in the cool water. Turns out I don't have great hiking shoes (although you should have seen what the British boys were wearing- cheapest tennis shoes ever!) but now that I have survived this hike I have decided to retire for awhile. I didn't really get to enjoy the waterfall because I was so fixated on my feet.

It was all worth it when we got to ride the elephants though. At this point my feet were throbbing, I was exhausted, hot and sweaty but I forgot all about that when I climbed up on that magnificent animal. We just rode through the jungle a bit but it was quite amazing. Elephants are so steady and sturdy and managed to walk gracefully through some really rough terrain. After our elephant ride we went down to the river and watched the mahouts bathe the elephants.

It was time for us to go home (the British boys were taking a 2 day course) so we took a boat ride back to the village where we started, climbed into the van and headed back to town. It was quite a day! I wish we had a picture of us on the elephant but we couldn't take one ourselves and the British boy took one with his camera but hasn't emailed it to me. To see all the pictures go here. I'm pretty proud that I survived this trek but if Matt wants to do another I think he's going to be on his own. Hahah!

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