Easy hike really means K2
Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
42Trip End Feb 27, 2013
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I met a guy Dave here who warned against going into Vietnam anywhere near the buildup and commencement of Tet which is around Feb. 10. My visa is scheduled to start the 1st of Feb...so I guess I gotta find something else to do until then...maybe head into Laos to the north, but I don't know about the border crossings there....basically, my overuse of periods and completely noncommital attitude should convey that this place is already infiltrating my blood. Hell, I've stopped wearing shoes---anywhere! It's a weird, insidious changing that you're not even aware of until you wake from a sleep in a hammock and wonder should you take the water boat taxi back around the island or walk back through the jungle....but, you don't really care either way
Tonight I'm staying for the first time in dorm rooms. Six or eight to a room. Not sure how many rooms...5 toilets altogether. A surprising feature of the bathrooms is that they are remarkably clean considering. Never in my life did I think I'd go into a bathroom outside my home or friends' homes barefoot. But, no one is in shoes so it's just the way it is. Now, a truly public squatter in a tin hut with unidentified substances all around and a suffocating stench of human waste...no thanks...I'd like to enter those in a haz-mat suit, but those don't pack so well in a backpack. That's another thing about leaving this place...the relative comforts are nice compared to the inevitable 'un'comforts awaiting me on long bus rides and disgusting toilets.
Did I tell you this morning we helped pull a boat ashore. The sea was very rough and boats at the pier had to move out farther into open water while the smaller boats were rescued onto the beach. It was so bad that the ferry couldn't make it in and so people couldn't get back to the mainland. It was an interesting endeavor with about 30 people lined on the sides of the boat and log rollers underneath to facilitate the beaching. 'Heave-ho' in Cambodian sounds remarkably like English.
The rest of the day was spent eating noodle soup from a local woman which was so good
Me, Brian, and our friend Dave decided to make the 'easy' 1 hour trek across a 'road' on the island to the other side. Mind the little quotes here. By road they mean a dirt track that is not marked until about halfway, you know, after you've already made about 4 different 'path' decisions that you figure will eventually dump you out on the other side...or just send you over a cliff as we discovered. Oops. Wrong trail apparently. And by 'easy' the locals mean (as they point in the general direction of the jungle behind them indicating where this so-called 'road' can be found) a 1 hr+ sweaty hike up and down terrain so steep that ropes are used. That's right, ropes. (as I was doing this hike, I thought of all my outdoorsy friends who would be impressed with my bouldering prowess while carrying a shoulder camera bag). Literally, every time we would descend one of these rocky passes, another one would crop up mere yards away. I'm not sure there are public hikes like this in the U.S.; sure you can go off trail and find something similar but there would be NO way anyone would point the general public on a route like this so nonchalantly
We took the water taxi back and had wood-fired local pizza for dinner. So so good. But pizza was expensive! $6.50 for an entire one! Then I remember to say the hell with it and enjoy myself. I'm not going to run out of money so I might as well not worry about it!