The State Of Shan
Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
31Trip End Jan 12, 2017
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Namasam is about 60km north of Hsipaw and a wonderful half km road of villagers and shops, but just the 1 monopolised guesthouse. The sleep was great and the village dead at night but 4.30 a.m. on the dot the monks start chanting and big, noisy lorries passing right by my window, I am not sure which was worse and cannot say that the chanting was going to get me anywhere near Nirvana. I decided to do the walk with the dutch couple although not take a guide (it was 10,000 kyat a day per person and when you see how much you can do it for you may understand that decision) as the path was told to us by the locals and a slightly disproportional map was available.
We started walking on the jungle path after being told we may have to turn back, there is fighting up in the Shan state and if we were to see the military then that was the probable outcome. Immediately the views were of mountainous passes and deep valleys, our path was determined by which village we had to get to which was another reason why this walk was favorable. The people throughout all the villages greeted us with grace, kids were friendly although some very shy. There is tons of tea on the mountain sides and early morning you see the whole family up and out to pick it before the sweltering heat becomes unbearable
The walk was not an easy one, which I prefer, with ups, downs, rounds and rocks but we ended up at about 5 in the afternoon to the village we intended to get to. Instantly finding a monk he greeted us with a tentative attitude and initially I was not optimistic about the outcome but it turned out that he was from another monastery and had no say in what happened there. The head monk came and was a star, looked like he worked out quite a bit or he just ate a lot. They all made us very welcome asking if we had eaten lunch, answer being no and then he asked "Have you eaten breakfast", this I reckon was just to practice his english. So we were told to wait for a little while and I just thought there would be a bowl of rice and a bit of vegetables, damn after an hour of waiting goods things do really come to those who wait, instead of a meager couple of bowls they brought the whole table full of about 9 different dishes (big ones), a big pot of rice, side soups and some green tea. After that filling I slept like a log.
The second day of trekking started with a hearty breakfast of rice, the left overs from the previous night and a fried egg (I have eaten more eggs in this trip than the entire population of chickens in south east asia can lay in a year)
I got an early morning bus to Mandalay the day after and found out they have weak stomachs on the buses,admittedly it was all twists and turns but it was pretty much all of them in this state.