We are cruising down the Mekong river in a slow longtail boat for two days, so I have a lot of time to tell you about my last weeks. We are passing breathtaking landcapes and watch the busy fisherboats doing their daily business, women washing clothes and children playing in the water. It feels unreal beeing in Laos now. The Mekong has always been such an exotic name for me and now I am experiencing it live and in coulour! Feels weird but really good!
But back to Thailand.
I was right on time for Songkran, the Thai new year, when I arrived in Chiang Mai after my mediation retreat and I thought a little action would do me some good after 10 days of silence but I wasn't exactly prepared for what was waiting for me: Three days of total crazyness which means buckets of water poured down your back constantly, drunk Thai people hugging and kissing you, wishing you a happy songkran, drunk tourists, enjoying the water battle even more than the locals, kms of queuing cars parading Buddha statues on top and every existing loudspeaker screaming random music as loud as possible. I kind of got sick of it after two days but I have to admit, I missed the cooling water the day after Songkran, it was so hot!!! And it was actually Fun, I was dragged into at least three Thai homes, forced to have a drink and something to eat and after having presented me to the whole family, one of them wanted me to marry the 60 year old bachelor uncle and when I said that he was too old for me, they 'offered' their 16 year old son...funny! So I enjoyed it but was happy when you could be on the street again without getting wet. I did a cooking class, and am happy to say that I can prepare my own delicious t61 now (for those unfamiliar with the menu from my favourite Thai take away in Oldenburg, t61 is a Red Thai curry with chicken) and loads of other mouthwatering dishes!
I also wanted to book a trek to the mountains but it was impossible to find an operating tour agency due to the holiday so I decided to go to Pai, a hippie village lost in the mountains behind 762 curves. Best decision ever, in Pai I found an awsome trekking agency thanks to Mo, my travel buddy, I met in Chiang Mai. Mo is english, 65 years old and has traveled all around south east asia for the last 5 years with short stopovers in Bremen to see her children and grandchildren. It is impressive, she knows everything about Thailand and discovers Laos and cambodia now. Anyway, I went on a two day trek to the Thai Jungle and I came as close as I ever want to come to a survival training. We had to build our own litle bamboo hut covered with banana leafs to have shelter at night and we ate the fish cought in a small river on the way. At night they took us frog hunting and we grilled the poor little creatures over the fire. Seriously, I had my first frog leg and it tasted really good, not fishy at all, more like chicken. But the highlight came next morning: Mr. Chart, our guide took his gun and after half an hour we heard one shot and he came back with a big bird, a hawk or so. They defeathered it (I helped, but didn't like it because the bird was still warm, that was kind of disgusting), cooked a Thai curry with it and we had it for breakfast!!! And beside that we also did some serious hiking, up and down the mountains in the sizzling hot and refreshed ourselves in stunning waterfalls on the way! Unique experience! Mr. Chart also took us to a village of a friend where we had lunch and could experience the life of the real hill tribes, not the fake ones they build to impress the tourists.
Since yesterday I am on the Mekong River on my way to Luang Prabhang, ready to discover Laos! Unfortunately the water level of the Mekong is really low because it is still the dry season and april is the hottest month. I would love to see the mighty Mekong in all its splendour, wide and wild. It has already some wild rapids, must be amazing during wet season. One more thing to add to my bucket list which keeps getting longer and longer the more things I see. But everything at its time. Go with the flow and take the opportunities as they come up. My trip to the mountains was once again a proof how great things work out if you let life happen.