Myles Harrington

Posts Tagged ‘trekking’

Scaring Kids With An English Bloke

In Laos on December 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

Adam, the cynical and fellow innuendo obsessed Brit and I decided to leave Luang Prabang together and develop our friendship further north in little idyllic and remote villages. The first such place was Nong Khiaw, a destination Lonely Planet describe as ‘a sleepy market village with a humbling backdrop’.

 

The humbling backdrop

Our only afternoon there involved a walk to a long and dark cave where villagers hid during the Second Indochina War. While we were there two small and innocent looking children followed us around, whispering to each other as if they were plotting some kind of hit and run mugging scam. We started to whisper too so they felt just as scared and at the chosen moment jumped out at them which made them look like they saw their lives flash before their eyes. We shook hands with them and smiled after but it was a cruel yet funny trick. Perhaps it will teach them it’s rude to whisper behind peoples’ backs.

 

The whisperers

We walked on a little further up the tarmaced road to a small village where the children only knew the English word ‘pen’. It seems like it’s quite universally known for children to know that specific word but I don’t know why. Unsurprisingly the village shop had a good stock of pens for falang to purchase, so we bought 20 and distributed accordingly with bonus sweets and the full bag was eventually swiped from us by a couple of mothers with sweet teeth.

 

The lazy Lao bulls

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The Big Trek to Triund and Some Milky Goodness

In India on April 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Yesterday we decided to go for a two day trek up to the top of the mountain we had been looking at for the last five days where a light shone like the star of Bethlehem calling us to the top. At the top of this mountain is a small hamlet called Triund where we’d heard it was possible to go and rent tents or small rooms and stay over. It sounded like the perfect excursion for five hungover people, as long as the 9km trek was as easy as the tour guides had promised us it was. The local travel agents were trying to charge us 1000 Rs each per day (£15) so we decided to go it alone and were bloody glad we did as it would have been highly embarrassing to turn up with a guide as the route was pretty easy to follow with a few ask and point help outs from the locals along the way. The first 6km went by relatively quickly with a stop at a shop en route but the last 3km was a slightly steeper and more treacherous challenge, through jungle like territory mixed with Dartmoor style rockery.

Honey, I've reached the top

In a bizarre scene that would only happen along that kind of route, Filip and I, who had walked on from the rest of the group who were suffering from last night’s local liquor  a little more, started chatting to a shop owner named Pardeep. At the end of our short conversation he offered us a room to stay in at the top of the mountain, gave us a key and a small note written in Hindi that we had to give to Sanjay in the shop at the top of the hill. All went to plan and we were in our stable like residency fours hours after setting off up the rocky path and we managed to catch the last of the sun with stunning views of the Dhauladhar range.Like baby Jesus we followed the stars and slept in a manger

After dinner, Filip, Minja and I who were sharing the shack decided to go down and speak to the two goat herders who had set up camp just down from our room. A 16 year old boy and his father were extremely hospitable to the three strangers that stumbled down their hill through their herd of bakri. We just sat and chatted with them for about an hour in broken English. We bought delicious fresh goats milk which tasted like Milkybar, smoked the father’s strong tobacco water-pipe, held the baby goat Hassasia and shared a bidie. It was the most memorable hour of my trip so far and made the arduous trek well worth it.

The goat herder gang of Triund

In the morning we had our second expensive thali in Tiund (expensive because they have to trek everything up by donkey) and this time Victor and I set off before the rest of the troupe. We decided to go the other way back, that we’d been told was possible by both the travel agents in McLeod Ganj and shop owners in Triund. They gave a wave of a hand in a general direction and we set off. The path was rough and extremely disjointed and as we were trekking down we realised at several moments we were passing McLeod Ganj on the wrong mountain ridge and in the wrong direction. This is where the expensive guide would have earned his rupees. We passed through peoples’ courtyards, steep farming pastures, tiny villages and down to a river bed. On our way we stopped off at a woman’s house and in our desperation for refreshment cheekily asked for a chai, she happily obliged and in a trade for me grinding some grain we got some sweet milky goodness.

Nothing like some hard labour in return for a free chai

After we returned only three hours after setting off (it seemed like 12) it was time for me to return to the laziest and most ignorant tailors in India to collect my hand-stitched granddad shirt that had taken four visits to perfect. It cost less than a pound per visit so I suppose I shouldn’t moan too much. A well deserved Kingfisher on the rooftop was in order and the day was finished of with a delicious Japanese feast.

Modeling the fine stitch work of India's laziest tailor