31.01.2015 - 31.01.2015
The night was warmer than we had anticipated. We'd brought toques, sweaters and scarves just in case, though the sweater was still necessary. Not many people woke up in time for the 7:30 breakfast so it was pushed to eight to Kham Lu's dismay. Breakfast was filling and again had no meat. We ate a thick veggie omelette, fried fern, lentil, beans and a potato daal dish.
We passed a few schools on our walk out of the village as well as some horses carrying wood up the hill.
As promised, we only went uphill for a little while through some areas which saw less deforestation than yesterday. There wasn't an access road yet so it had some beautiful views. Tea plantations caused a lot of the tree clearing. Kham Lu saw the climate changing a bit as a result, like rain in dry season, and suspected that it would continue to change. One man was cutting logs by hand yesterday and would do so all day. He would only be paid by the builder once he was finished.
We made it out of the nice forested area and down to the valley which almost felt like a desert. We had some tea, snacks and bought expensive water at a little shop. There were more personal photos at religious sites as well as photos of baby twins. The walk back without shade continued until a large truck passed us. It stopped and Kham Lu asked if we wanted to board. Since it was free, we did, clinging onto the metal bars around the sides of the box. It was fun at first to balance while standing and enjoy the passing scenery, but the constant fight to stay upright and oil fumes that were leaking in got to me. My headaches grew with every bump and shake. Ryan asked for me if we could get off and to my luck we had to stop anyway to let other trucks go by and hopped off.
We walked the rest of the way back. Earlier we'd been talking about the Netherlands including its beauty and biodiversity. Three hours was a really long journey for them travelling to university North fomr the South. We also compared notes on tipping and taxes in both countries. Taxes were included in their prices and they didn't have the distinction on fresh or processed food taxes, although they may introduce it in the future to promote healthier living. We shared about Canada's size, diversity and how a three hour trip was almost a requirement to get anywhere from our part of the country. We also talked a bit about residential schools and out not so pretty past, also the differences between us and the states. They had noticed that most Americans took shorter trips and tended to volunteer. We attributed our long trips to winter escapism.
For lunch, we had Shan noodle soup. To the others' delight, there was finally a meat option with the veggie option for myself as well. It was quite tasty and the noodles had a slightly sticky characteristic that the ones at the tea shop had as well.
The tuktuk picked us up from there and we rode back to town. Kham Lu talked about these sticky rice and palm sugar treats that the Dutch women had tried a version of in Vietnam and loved. We said our goodbyes and went to relax in the room.
Ryan and I rested until supper where our aching bodies made the journey to San for more barbequed okra, potato and Ryan's not so appetizing chicken stuffed with vegetable. We went to the corner that Kham Lu pointed out for a purple dessert patties. The woman steamed them with palm sugar and wrapped them in a bamboo leaf. We also got two green ones with nuts that the lady in front of us was buying. 3 pieces for 300 kyat or 30 cents.
Back at Lily guesthouse, we asked what exactly we'd bought and the young lady laughed. It was a sticky rice dessert well known to the area. They may have been described in our guidebook as well.