An unsettled nights sleep as we both tossed and turned trying to get comfortable on the wooden floor. It was almost a relief to wake up to the sun pouring through the windows and the several resident cockerels crowing loudly just outside. Dressed and went down the rickety staircase to breakfast outside – three pancakes with honey and cashew nuts, sesame biscuits and five types of fruit… Think Ko Aung was trying to feed us up to slow us down!!! Offered the biscuits to the toddler in the family who was delighted as she played with her toy – a piece of ginger root. Started walking with the scenery and terrain being similar to yesterday’s trek. Slightly hotter today, it was nice when we got some of ‘natures air conditioning’ on the hill top. An amusing moment where Jayne pointed at a water store and said ‘swimming pool’. Ko Aung looked slightly horrified and said that it was the villagers water supply – definitely not for swimming!! We saw a second and third one minutes later and Jayne repeated her statement as Ko Aung looked at us as if we were insane and he explained, again, what it was really for. A joke that clearly didn’t translate very well… Using our stops in villages to buy more water we continued on our way, stopping in one village to watch an old lady do some traditional weaving. It was fascinating to watch her work the loom back and forth. It seems criminal that she sells her creations for such little money especially since they take her between 1 and 4 days to make. Loaded up with fried snacks, sugar cane cubes and some of her woven creations, we carried on to our lunch stop. Another full on meal of fried noodles, egg and enough fruit to feed a family of four, we had clearly made excellent time trekking and were told to take a rest or a siesta. Started walking again after a two hour rest, to find our guide limping slightly – with chaffed skin. Offered him some different lotions to run on his thighs as we took hourly breaks to make things easier especially as it got hotter and hotter throughout the day. Arrived at the monastery around 5.30pm just in time to see the Buddhist monks play a game of football – most of them barefooted and playing on gravel… No ‘shower’ facilities as they were waiting for the rainy season to fill up the water tank supply so they were restricting water usage to drinking and cooking only. Thankfully, we had packed plenty of wet wipes which came away positively filthy from our skin. Another huge meal with six different curries and fruit before we settled down in our ‘bedroom’ – a cornered off section of the main temple hall. Two sheets had been tied up although they draped and gaped so much that they may as well have not been there! A shuffle to get changed into pyjamas under the fleece blanket before the lights were turned off and we fell asleep with monks walking around using head torches to light the way to their beds.
Monday 30th May 2016