The one road town and monkey impersonations!!
Trip Start Oct 05, 2007
97Trip End Oct 04, 2008
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Anyway the whole point of Huay Xai - or rather our presence there at this paticular time was our Christmas present (thank you mum and dad) the Gibbon Experience! The Gibbon Experience is a programme run in the Bokeo Nature reserve which aims to preserve the forest and the gibbons within. By providing an income from eco-tourism for the villages in and around the reserve they prevent poaching of the animals and deforestation. Intrestingly they are able to make more money from the forest in this way then logging companies do from deforestation! Anyway its not all deep and meaningful.....its amazing fun too!!
Doing the Gibbon Experience basically means getting in touch with your inner child (or not so inner in my case) and making like a monkey (or more specifically a gibbon)! We lived up in trees which were accessed by zip wires! Meals were bought to us in tin containers (one of which went flying over the side of the treehouse one night - wasn't me....honest) which we then heated up on a gas burner.....yup - naked flame in tree house - rather worrying!! We also discovered (rather to late for my complaining stomach) that we had been given a huge supply of other food in a freezer box! So you will all be pleased to know we didn't get hungry (after discovery of freezer box) and there was plenty of seconds! We shared our treehouse with 4 other people who were great fun! And we enjoyed our evenings huddled around the candles playing cards and listening out for rats before we went to bed and tried very hard not to listen to the rats that seemed to paticularly enjoy having arguments on the tarpaulin above our beds!!
On the first morning a guide zip wired though the mist to our tree house at 6.30 where we were waiting to go Gibbon spotting! There was great excitement because we could hear them really loudly so we all lept out of the tree house (attached to zip wires and not simultaneously i assure you) and reached the hill opposite where we took our harnesses off and krept (i've discovered i creep like an elephant) in to the forest it felt like I was on a James Bond mission because we had to go across the zip wire one by one and so you were a way behind the person in front! Lukily i was the 4th one across and managed to catch up with the guide and the people in front and spent a magical few minutes watching two gibbons swinging through the trees and wooping to each other (sooo loud)! We were really lucky because later on whilst eating brekkie we spotted them in two different places from our tree house! I was really excited because i thought i had caught the legs of one on my camera.....it certainly looked like it when you zoomed in....turns out that they were leaves!!
The rest of our time was spent hiking (exhusting - bloody hilly in Laos) but the scenery was amazing and we visited several other of the tree houses (there are 6 in total) and went on many zip wires (each more terrifying than the last) including two that took several minutes to get across! For some reason i didn't seem to be able to get all the way accross the zip wires so not only did my legs get a good work out my arms did aswell - as suspended serval miles above the ground i had to haul myself the rest of the way across - doh!
All too soon our 3 days were up and after a quick game of Boules (very popular in Laos) with the villagers we found our selves on the very very very (etc) bumby track back to the road and Huay Xai!