Mel & Jammy's Fun Times!
Hey there peeps! Hope everybody is okay and managing to contain any feelings of jealousy or hatred you may have towards us when we tell of how good a time we are having! As far as what we've been up to over here, we have now left Laos and are living it up in Thailand after a change of plan on the volunteering front. So saving the details, on choosing not to volunteer, we decided to stay in northern Laos anyway and spend a shed load of cash on adventurous activities! Our first adventure was a 2 day kayaking trip into the NamHa protected area which is a really dense forest near to Luang Namtha. This turned out to be such a cool trip and one of the highlights so far, especially as we were with a really nice couple called Mark and Amber from Dumfries who we have been travelling with since, and a great guide, Ket, who really knew his stuff. The trip once again resulted in a few cuts and bruises however, and at one point we weren't sure if Amber had broken her knee after falling in and landing on a rock. Jammy also fell in in a slightly less dramatic way after he got knocked off the kayak by a tree branch! Even funnier was when a fish got into Jammy and Mark's kayak and ended up Jammy's shorts-dangerous! Besides fish we were inundated with huge spiders every time we went through the trees, and I even had an absolutely huge (no exaggeration!) praying mantis in the kayak which I must have sat on as it was completely flattened and ended up looking like an alien. In the evening we stayed in an ethnic 'Lanten' village where the people rarely see tourists as it can can only be reached by water. This was really fascinating to see how some people in the world really live. We have been to lots of other 'ethnic villages' on the way but this one felt different in the sense that things have barely changed in hundreds of years (no shops, no electricity-nothing!) and we really felt like guests in the community. For dinner they kindly killed a chicken for us which was definitely fresher than your average Tesco chicken, and afterwards we used it as part of the sickest drinking game in the world...ever. The game involved using the chicken's head in a kind of spin the bottle style to choose who has to drink a shot of the local homebrew, LaoLao whisky-weird! And all this whilst Lionel Richie was playing on our guide's mobile! I'm sure that if beef's on the menu they probably use the cow's head in a similar way! So after kayaking we had to stay in Luang Namtha for a couple of days doing not a lot before heading to the Gibbon Experience. But what's that I hear you cry. Well basically it involves spending 3 days in the jungle whilst swinging around on ridiculously high zip wires, and the gibbon bit refers to the fact that you get woken up in the morning by the call of female gibbons. This is such an amazing noise which sounds quite similar to a broken air-raid signal and can be heard from miles around. We were also lucky enough to see a whole family of gibbons swinging through the trees on the second day, not too far from the tree house we were staying in. Our tree house was pretty basic but nice enough considering it was only a tree house, but the coolest aspect of it was probably that there wasn't a bottom to the loo unless you count the jungle floor! The gibbons and the zip wires were really great, if not a bit scary at times (one of them was 150m high and 400m long!) but the scariest part of the 'experience' was actually getting into the park in the first place. This involved crossing a fast-flowing river in a car that the driver seemed to think was actually a boat, and wading through several rivers on the way through. At times we felt like we were on some sort of secret SAS training camp, and needless to say we earned more cuts and bruises! All in all though we had a really great time and it was good to look forward to Thailand so that we could eat something other than cold rice and veg! So here we are back in modernity in a city called Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and we are already missing Laos. This is supposed to be a cultural place but all we have done since arriving is eat and eat as much western rubbish as we can manage. Tonight however we are going to a Thai boxing match which I'm sure will prove to be fun if not a little odd! Until next time folks! Mel and Jammy XXX