Thailand - Northern

Hui Ya Sai the Lahu Tribe

Bamboo Rafting

San Pa Haig the Lisu Tribe


When the shop closed, we were offered opium.  Two of the guys in our group tried it and let us watch.  It seemed like an overpriced novelty to me.  They said you needed to smoke about six pipes to feel it.  Terry did three pipes and Dave did one.  They said it tasted sweet like anise.  Dave didn't feel anything while Terry said it mellowed him out and he thought it was better than marijuana, which he doesn't like.  He was also sick for the rest of the trip and had no appetite.

We did a waist-deep stream crossing first thing in the morning.  Well, depending on how tall you are.  A short Irish girl was in up to her chest.  We kept telling her to lift her pack, but the water was quite strong and her focus was on getting across.  It was quite funny to watch and she was the first to laugh.

There were a few leeches on the trail.  After lunch, I noticed a noodle lying on the dirt floor.  I couldn't help but roll it around until it turned brown and freak a few people out with the fake leech.

On the second day, we went bamboo rafting.  The raft was long and narrow with a t-pee structure to hang our packs from.  The water comes through the floor and you either sit on a bamboo log or stand.  There's one person at the front and another at the back using long bamboo poles to keep the raft on track.

The guides were talented enough to slap the pole on the water and it would flip over lengthwise as it bounced back into their hand.  The sound makes you jump thinking there is a creature in the water.

One of the guys in our group took a turn on the back and got pulled into the river as the pole wedged between two rocks.  We rescued him in time for the grand finale down a small waterfall.  We all leaned back and felt the rocks like a washboard under our feet.

The second village was San Pa Haig, home of the Lisu tribe.  The magic word is "A Ke Bo Mo" (Ah-Key-Bo-Mo).  Once again the women set up shop and we walked around their circle of goods.  A couple of the young girls had worked us earlier in the day, "You buy from my mother and me tonight"?

Tonight we were offered moonshine rice whiskey.  I was out numbered by the English and Irish, so held out until the last two rounds.

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