Visit to the Karen hill tribe

Early in the morning, after a nice breakfast from the monks at the temple we stayed at, we start hitching our way further South along the border with Myanmar. After studying the map we decide to get off the main road and visit Mae Surin waterfall. The road is 20 km to get there but along the way would be hill tribe villages we read. A pick up truck drops us at our road and we start walking.

It’s a steep road and it’s already getting hot. We hear a scooter approaching and quickly decide that Nastya will hop on and continue down the road for 5 km where we will meet up. There was not a lot of traffic so I don’t really have my hopes up, that another scooter would take me anytime soon. So steep. And I carry the backpack with 3 liters of water. Some scooters passing, all with two people or three children no capacity to take me on. Sweating my way up. The views are becoming beautiful. At least I’m free to take pictures. The GPS tells me I made 3.5 km in one hour as I hear a scooter approaching and lucky as I am the guy stops and agrees to take me along. A final 20 m climb, the scooter makes a lot of noise, 2 curves and there is Nastya waiting at the 4 km mark. A bit too soon, but I enjoyed the short ride 🙂
We walk a few kilometers and continue this exercise ones again. The first car of the day, a Toyota Hilux pick up is right behind us. “Hey! Where you going?” We explain ourselves and earn a bit of admiration. The driver offers to take us on a little detour to a nice lake and his home village. Of course we agree and hop on the bed of the truck. With my feet I’m standing in a bloody red liquid and I’m wondering if this already are the cannibals that I read about in the Indonesia travel guide the night before 🙂 Later on find out it was syrup that leaked and that he brought along for the kids of the village. The side road is even rougher the views are mesmerizing but we have a hard time holding onto the pick up. Our arrival at the village feels like returning from a space mission. Everybody is out on the street waving, hellos, greeting us. We introduce ourselves and a young man who is translating invites us to join to go to the church. We realize it’s Sunday today!
We enter the church and sit down in the last row the whole village is already there. The women and the babies on the right, the man on the left, everybody singing. Later during the service the priest welcomes us and asks everyone to treat us nicely. Latest now we enjoy celebrity status. Apparently it’s been two years since a foreigner has come here.
While Christianity has arrived to the village, electricity hasn’t and neither did phone signal and Internet. We are off the grid! Lunch is ready and it’s so different from Thai food. Ingredients come from the jungle and in general there is less meat and more green in the curries. Delicious!
Now we are high up in the hills, surrounded by nothing but beautiful views. After short but heavy rain the sun is back out and we go for a walk. When we returned, the women and girls from our home, as well as the neighboring houses have all gathered and Nastya is being dressed up. The handmade dress is a present from grandmother and on a second walk around the village, to go see the lake, everybody is admiring Nastya’s new style. We’ll be back!

Okay, this blog post is a premiere as in I’m not actually typing it, but dictating to Siri on Nastya’s new old phone. Seems to work well so far.
Thank you for thinking about us and your continuous support!