« Chang Mai | Main | The Mighty Mekong River »

November 29, 2006 12:10 AM

Trekking the Burmese Border

Intrepid TrekkersCHANG MAI, THAILAND - Puking out of the back of the truck as we made our way into the mountains wasn't an ideal way to break the ice with our newly formed trekking group, but it worked. Despite waking up early that morning with what seemed to me to be a fatal case of food poisoning, I'd chosen to go along on the trek. It wasn't until several hours later, as I trudged through the jungle, that I started to worry; every attempt to get either food or fluid into my body was violently rejected my stomach. I was growing weak and dehydrating fast, and here I was, hiking further and further from modern medical help.

Upon reaching the small and isolated hill-tribe village, our group was surprised by four villagers. As they rounded the corner it became obvious that they had violence in their eyes. Like a pack of wolves they instinctively set upon the weakest of our group, me, all the while tugging and pulling at any limb that presented itself. The only thing that saved me in the end was that the oldest of the group couldn't have been more than 8 years old. They were children, and even in my weakened state I was able to fend them off, after first posing for photos. Rural children, climbing on foreigners always makes for good photography.

The rest of the villagers were more gentle with us and I was full of hope that some soup broth and a good nights sleep would see the end of my misery. Not so. It seems my illness was the catching kind: All but three of our group spent that night taking turns running for the open doorway of our bamboo hut each noisily leaving a snack for the village dogs and pigs. None of us slept. We shivered our way through that first night but survived to see the light of day.

The rest of the trip was far less miserable for most of our intrepid crew. In fact most of it was fun and exciting. We steered bamboo rafts down jungle rapids, rode elephants, hiked through some gorgeous jungles and got to see some villages and country side we otherwise never could have seen. The fact that we chose to go all the way to the Burmese border meant that we were able to get away from the 'trekking crowds' there were no other tourists on our route, which in Thailand, is a rare thing indeed.

My Thai visa expires tomorrow, so I'll be making a run for the Laos border where I'll spend the next couple weeks exploring the Laotian countryside. It's a mysterious place for me. I know nothing about it other than it's got the distinction of being one of the most bombed countries in history.


matt said:

amazing man, wish I could be there. going to peru in five days!

November 29, 2006 11:42 AM
Natalie said:

You're such a trooper Ryan....

November 29, 2006 06:18 PM
Amy said:

The pics are great Ryan :)

November 30, 2006 05:28 AM
Jenny said:

Hi Ryan!
Nice pics, love 'em.
How are your trip in Laos so far?
Take care!

December 1, 2006 03:08 AM
Ray said:

Hey Ryan,

hope to buy your book when it comes out when you get back to Canada.

Take it easy,


December 1, 2006 12:36 PM