Kaili - Xijing
So I'd bought my new bag for the 5 day trek and packed it with a spare set of dirty clothes (there was no time to get laundry done in HK).It then came to light on the overnight train that the trek was only 2 nights, so I slimmed down my stuff and used my Camelback (I'm still pissed off that I wasted $20 on another bag, which I don't really have room to carry).
When we got to Kaili, we had two hotel rooms to get changed in and pack ready for the trek.The weather was still quite warm in Kaili which boosted spirits, having been bitterly cold on the previous trek, I was taking no chances, so I wore my thermals.Which if I'm honest could probably have walked the trek on their own!
Kaili was a bit of a grotty town, so I was quite happy to get the bus out of town to Xijing, where we stayed overnight in a Mao guest house (another elaborate shed with no heating, but we did have electric blankets this time!).Anyway we had dinner and a few rice wines, well if truth be told we had more than a few…
We had a couple of shots to celebrate Amy's Birthday and then a few more to celebrate Amy's Birthday with the three large groups of Chinese that we shared the guest house with. Then the elder ladies came round after dinner and poured two bowls down our throats, apparently it is rude to refuse or even touch the bowl!After the very friendly Chinese tourist kept coming over to our table and offering us more and more.It was only when we got up to go to the cultural show that we realized how pissed we were and it was only 6:45!The a couple of the girls had to put Amy to bed and James was already hugging the only western toilet in Xijing!Still a four or five men down we headed for the 'cultural' show where we were fed more rice wine & beer and instructed to dance! - I can only guess what state we were in.Our local guide Min then decided we needed to go clubbing, now we were in a Moa village, hours from anywhere, the place hardly had running water where were we going to clubbing?After we navigated the labyrinth of passage ways and steps we entered another elaborate shed which low and behold turned out to be a night club.Other than the walk home in the pouring rain I can tell you no more!
The following morning we were unsurprisingly not ready for our trek at 11, well more to the point Amy our guide Amy was still in bed nursing a menacing hangover.We managed to get the group up and kind of ready for mid-day.A five hour trek is just what we need!
Actually the trek was good fun, a few of the guys struggled but the scenery was beautiful and well worth the effort!
We finally got to our home stay five and a bit hours later and all collapsed in our local guide's house.Well I say collapsed we sat on the many small wooden stalls that were dotted around the lounge.We had a quick tour of the village and our guide showed us the toilet, again I use the word toilet but it was actually a wooden barrel cut in half with two planks of wood balanced on top.The real problem was that the 'room' was so small we couldn't get in it.Once the guide had realized that we couldn't use the toilet, she took us to the local school to use their 'modern' toilet…ha ha ha it was a concrete trough! Little did I know at this point I would crave a concrete trough later that night!
We had dinner with one of the local elders and yet more rice wine!The food was lovely, but we were all still feeling a little tender from the previous night's shenanigans, plus nobody wanted to eat because we didn't want to have to use the toilet!
The elder made lots of lovely speeches in Chinese which were translated to say that just because we live so far apart in different countries we were still all brothers and sisters and he was honored to have us dine at his house. He then repeated this speech a good four or five times, which would have been fine had each rendition not required a huge shot of rice wine! After the elder ladies had sung for us we sang a rather sketchy version of the National Anthem for them before walking to our home stays, separate houses for boys and girls or they would have to slaughter a chicken!
Our host was nice enough but unsurprisingly spoke no English, they signaled that we should wash our face and feet and offered up a bowl of water and a rag that may have been washed at some point in history, but probably not within the last twelve months.After we declined the wash and no doubt offended our host he showed us to the smallest room in the house.This is where I dreamt off the aforementioned concrete trough!The toilet in this lovely family's house was a hole in the ground in the stables with the three pigs and two cows!!!It's funny how you can go for so long without going to the toilet when the circumstances are so dire!
After the trek, the rice wine, the onsite facilities we were all ready for bed, well all except for Dave who had a rat in his room! Oh yes this was going to be an interesting nights sleep - I'm just glad I carried my sleeping bag on the five hour trek, at least I didn't have to sleep on those sheets!
I never thought I would be so glad to hear a cockerel singing his heart out at six in the morning, we were up packed and ready to by eight!Just a four hour journey on a public bus on some mountain tracks before we could use the toilet, have a shower and get some food!