12th June 2006 – An episode of “Lost”?
I was rather less enthusiastic the next morning as I got up at 7 a.m. we left at 9 a.m. for something which was described as “trekking”.
We drove for about 2 hours stopping on the way to look at a pineapple farm followed shortly afterwards by the Dole factory where they process the pineapples. We drove into a national park and up towards a waterfall. A guide joined us and took us back to a lower car park. Some alarm bells rang! We set off through the jungle. I was with a group of people from other parts of the hotel, much younger and fitter looking than my companions in the Saga group. It started off quite gently, climbing up alongside the river. It got a bit rocky and steep as we walked alongside the river, then we had to cross it. We did this by clambering over rocks and along a tree trunk. It got much harder going as we criss-crossed the river. On one crossing I waited too long to step and unbalanced, so I stepped right into the water. Well, at least one foot was nice and cool! The man behind me slipped and sat right down in the water and the man behind him decided to just wade across. Eventually we arrived at a bridge. Was it the end of the trek? No. And when the guide pointed out the tracks of a wild boar and we saw a pitch covered up with sticks and found a monkey carcase, I began to feel as if we were auditioning for an episode of “Lost” (a popular TV programme of the time about people who were stranded on an island when their plane crashed).I felt as if I could audition for the part of the little old lady who says: “Go on leave me behind, I’m old. At least you will all be safe”. Eventually we could see a waterfall and, above the sound of the water came voices. We had simply walked back to the first car park and the area was filling up with people who had taken the sensible decision to join the river there instead of doing it the hard way!
I gave up, exhausted, at the first waterfall. Some of the others made it to the second one and one couple made it to the third. I was very pleased to look at their photographs but I had seen quite enough of the jungle for that day.
We returned (the short way) to our bus and we were taken to have some lunch which was very welcome. There were lots of butterflies there to some absolutely huge ones. I bought some beautiful handmade cards which will made from mulberry paper. So off we went downhill again. The road was uneven and full of potholes and our driver had to keep slowing down, sometimes almost to a standstill. Then we stopped at a small shop and on our way to visit a Karen village. I bought some sweets and exercise books. These people were refugees from Myanmar, with the border still only 15 km away. They’ve settled and a small village has grown up. But the houses looked very poorly maintained and the children we saw playing were poorly clothed. As I said on my visit to Borneo, I have mixed feelings about this visits but the children were happy with their books and, of course, the sweets.
I was in the pool within a few minutes of arriving back at the hotel and then I met my friendly ladies from the Midlands and we spent the evening together.
Half our group were doing “Hua Hin By Night”. Unfortunately for them it rained for much of the evening. I hoped that it would be a better night for us the following week when it was our turn.
13 June 2006
Time for a brief spell of laziness and relaxation during this very busy week. Another walk with my friends along the beach and then the black clouds came over. I was caught by the eventual downpour while in the swimming pool and had to run inside. The TV continues to be constant coverage of the 60th anniversary celebrations!