Mung Ngoi and Hilltribe Trekking
Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
51Trip End Feb 16, 2006
The trip to Mung Ngoi was kind of interesting. I was crammed close to this woman who kept on spitting over my shoulder and pushing her elbows into my ribs. I'm not quite sure she liked me so much... Then we got on a little narrow wooden boat that was taking water every time we crossed a rapid. Kind of scarry, but we finally made it there and we were all happy to be able to unfold our legs and get rid of the cramps.
Mung Ngoi is a tiny village consisting mostly of little guesthouses
So next morning we take off with our backpacks and first walk along the rice fields. We stopped at a cave where we were told that a french woman got stuck and died last year. But we tried exploring it anyway. We were quickly blocked by pretty deep water, which didn't stop Flo who showed us his beautiful blue boxer shorts and heroically continued by himself for another, well, 5 meters. It would have been fun to continue though.
Then we crossed some more fields and watched people harvest the rice. Tough work. The scenery was beautiful with these really steep mountains rising like pinnacles from the rice paddies. We visit a few Khmu villages and get introduced to an old woman who has tatoos all over her arms. Apparently she got them when she was 14 and she was married when she was 15. Man did I feel old. I should have grandkids by now if I was from there...
After breakfast we hang around a bit then set off on our hike. This time we hike more through the jungle and overgrown fields. They do slash and burn cultivation here and every few years they abandon village and fields and go somewhere else. We try to make our way through the grass tunnel. At some point we get followed by a group of angry pigs. I'm not used to be scared of pigs but they are pretty ferocious here
In a village we meet the village elder who welcomes us in his house. It is amazing to see how simple their life is. Almost everything they have is homemade, even their clothes and they use bamboo to made furniture, baskets, etc. There are animals everywhere. We're trying not to think too much about SARS since we share our house with chicken and ducks...
That night we get to another village. This time we even have time to take a "shower". We actually get to a river where a bamboo is used as a hose. Since there are two we have a girl's and a boy's shower. We hide behind our sarongs and just have enough time to wash before the whole village shows up for their shower. That night we have a good dinner and get to drink some freshly distilled Lao lao, a rice whisky. We play cards and our guide gets pretty drunk. Afterwards we go to a bonfire outside of the village. We have our own huts because they have figured out that tourists are a bit sensitive to roosters crying all night. We drink some more and in an effort to entertain the village people we try to teach them a silly song. They just look at us in a very perplexed way and we feel very stupid. Suddenly a local guy jumps up. We wonder why and find out that a huge centipede (about 20 cm long!) has stung his toe. They catch it and start roasting it on the fire. We wonder why and soon find out after they peel it that this is going to be their dessert. Flo and Ally try it and say it tastes like chicken. So I try it too. I guess it's not too bad!
We sleep well and after a good breakfast set out for the last part of our trip. We mostly hike downhill. A big part of the hike is through a river and it's a bit hard.
When we finally get to Mung Ngoi we're pretty tired, but it was an awesome trip! We really had a good time with a great and fun group. Thanks you all!
We spend one more night there and find out the next morning that the beds were infested by bed bugs. I must have about a hundred bites and they're driving me nuts!!!!!!!!!!