The trek was incredibly hard. Obviously a "trek" is different than a "hike," but for some reason I just thought it meant a "particuarly hard hike." I was wrong. "Treks" mean walking through dense jungle vegetaion with a 6in trail, completely covered in 5ft ferns, under you with a 20ft drop into even denser and very sharp vegetation below you. Thye first day we hiked for about 2hr before we got to the first hill tribe village. It was pretty difficult, but the village was very welcoming and fun. The second day sucked. We hiked for a good 8hr almost continually uphill. It was not fun. No, it was fun after I had completed it. Then it was fun. The thing about trekking in such a beautiful place is that since I have to be so concerned with where I step and continuing to breathe, its very hard to appreciate my surroundings. The second village was slightly disapointing. The first village was pretty modernized, but I thought that was a given since they were closer to the city, but the second village was actually in the middle of nowhere and they still managed to have DVD players and satelite TVs. Since we had trekked all that way to stay with Hill Tribe families, I had, I thought, rightfully expected them to be a more traditionally focused culture. Unfortunately I was wrong. True, they did perform a tribal dance for us on our second night there, but even then we had to wait for the cheif to come back to the village on his scooter before it could start. You would think that globalization would end up bringing the good technologies to the underdeveloped world before it brought pop music and non-biodegrabable waste to Hill Tribes, but this village still ran off of battery power and the nearest toilet to town was a good 5min walk up a hill. And it was a really gross bathroom.
I went into the trek thinking that I would see grandmothers weaving baskets on the porch while men drove trucks instead of walking to their rice feilds, but instead I got Thai pop blasted through cell phoines at 3am. According to Casey, when she trekked through the area in 2001 that is what she saw, but in just 8years they have lost the great majority of their traditional way of life. Yes, in some ways I'm sure there life is much better, but how musch better is it when a Thai family, all with cell phones, scooters, and cars, end up selling their daughters into prostitution anyway because it brings in more money than sending her to school would?
After a very long day of being on literally every source of transportation used by mankind in the past three centuries, we are at a hostel in Chaing Rai. Tomorrow we head to Ayuthaya where we get to bike around old Wat ruins. I'll try to upload some more pictures soon, but this computer is in Thai and I couldn't find out how to upload them here.