Sawaat di kaa everyone!!! well we have just ...

Trip Start Oct 07, 2002
Trip End Apr 18, 2003

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Sunday, November 3, 2002

Sawaat Di Kaa Everyone!!!

Well we have just got back from a 3 day trek up north in the mountains and we are happy to be back...

We have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT we would put on here so we can reach everyone.....When we were trekking this weekend(Nov 2) we stopped by the Dakone waterfall in the middle of the jungle for a much needed break and Arn got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and put up with him forever....I hmmm'ed and haw'ed and decided YES...(haha...I didn't really pause and he didn't ask me to 'put up' with him....)...We haven't told a soul yet as we wanted to wait to get back to the city to share it with all of you first ... Don't worry, no wedding along the route...we will wait until we are home to plan that!!!(but you can start planning on what gifts you will buy us now if you want!!! HAHAHA...totally kidding...Arn got me a simple, elegant, beautiful ring I can wear on the trip without worrying about it and said I will get a very nice cubic zerconia when we get home!!! :) We will post a picture of my nice ring when we can get to a shop for the women in the group!...

Here are the highlights of our trek...

It was a great experience but not what we were expecting....The hill tribe villages we stayed at and visited were mostly great, especially the kids, but one village was a drug selling village and it was awful and I'm glad we were just passing through...We take back anything we said about the dogs/cats being in good health...they are horribly sick and hungry and are treated without any respect at all. The trek was very difficult and dangerous as it had rained lots and was very steep and muddy with lots of 'suicide' cliffs as our guide said...our guide was good I guess compared to some who try to sleep with the women and are drunk all the time but he left us on a treacherous part of the mountain a couple times and waited at the bottom and I was not impressed...Arn and I helped eachother over cliffs and streams with no bridges and stuff and it was fine but stressful. The jungle was beautiful to say the least...We rode elephants for 1.5 hours and it was amazing..they are incredible animals, very agile considering their weight and size and very nice and friendly. I wanted to bring a couple home but Arn said no....We had a village dog follow us hiking for about 7 hours and he was quite sick but was very protective of Arn and I and came back up the mountain at one point when the group had got to the bottom to make sure we were ok and stayed by our side. That night he slept at the end of our hut bed in front of the mosquito net and guarded our stuff and us even though they aren't allowed in there is no doors....He was very sick but we fell in love with him...I also wanted to bring him home but Arn said no....We named him Mangee...poor sweetie....OUr guide told us about who around here eats dogs and what kind of bugs they like and what birds they eat...interesting, maybe a little too much information....He also told us the Akha tribe that we visited kills any twins born as they believe it will bring evil to the entire village....We went white water rafting today and it was I'm sure level 5 rapids (or maybe level 20!)...which I have never done before...I have never been so afraid doing a sport or anything in my life. I was totally not expecting it as they didn't tell us at all what we were in for...I held on to the rope on both sides of the rubber dingy and bawled my face off and prayed to please get me out alive. Arn was in another boat doing just fine....the guide was booting me in the back screaming to paddle and I was too petrified to even DREAM of letting go of my ropes let alone paddle...I would love to do it again, knowing what it is like but I thought because we were beginners they would be easy on us...not the way in Thailand....We slept on floors in thatched roof huts with no mattresses just with a very thin mat and a blanket and cement like square pillows...there was a little tap you could have cold showers with thank God as we were drenched from hiking all day in the heat and humidity...When we arrived in the first village, a little girl about 4 came running over and put her arms out for Arn to pick her up. The kids thought of all 9 of us immediately as playmates and were alot of fun. They put on a little dance and song (including Frera Jacque a !! sp? as a grand finale) in our hut one night and it was amazing and adorable in their traditional costumes. There was drugs of any sort available anywhere up there as it is the start of the drug trade in this country..They have a big opium addiction problem in the villages apparently. We were very happy to get out of the city and be in the fresh air and quiet. The hilltribes are in the middle of nowhere, often with no roads, only a treacherous hike up a mountain and have nothing and then have something very commercial like a motorbike or the odd tv powered by a generator. We didn't have power in our villages but that was fine, candlelight was a nice change from electicity. The kids were quite dirty generally speaking but were incredibly friendly. Our guide was in love (literally) with a 9 year old who looked to be 6-7 and he is waiting for her to turn 14-15 to marry her...he is currently 25 years old. I talked long and hard to him about this as I was fascinated and did not know if he was trying to be funny...We told him in Canada you do 15-20 for that but I don't know if he understood!

Tomorrow I start my 2 week traditional Thai massage course...excited but tired after not getting any sleep the past few nights but glad to be back out of the jungle. We got bed bug bites on our bums from one of the huts but we're fine. Arn is starting his Thai cooking course thursday and will sign up for the language course tomorrow.... Me and my Fiance' better run and find some paper for me to write on for tomorrow's class and get to bed. Please keep the emails coming and will try to write back to the many I have not yet (sorry, trying our best and trying to spread out the internet charges...) Lots of love to you all, big hugs, J&A.
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