Last night was particularly eventful, due to a peach-sized mango dropping square in the middle of our dining table after dinner, exactly between Karyn and Di. It sounded like a bowling ball! Needless to say it scared the pants off then!
This morning we emerged from a night filled with dogs fighting, roosters crowing, and geese honking at 5am, intending on getting as many kilometers in before the day got too hot. We had garlicky scrambled eggs, and hit the road before 630am.
We stuck to the road, because there are a couple of land mine warnings.
We got our first 8km done pretty early, then said goodbye to our A team: Deb, Babs, Kaz, and Dave. They took off on the van, and explored our newest monastery. Deb committed a fau pas by wearing her hat and shoes into the temple. A local boy charged with looking after us didn’t really like Deb after that, and took every opportunity to shoot her murderous looks.
The rest of us meandered through plantations of mango, tapioca, and eggplant. We were a long way from roads and people, and the shade was very welcome! We took a single trail to the left about 4k in, and explored an 11th century Buddhist temple. It was pretty much rubble, after a war and years of tree growth, but still a very serene and enchanting place.
Only 1km from camp, one of our guides filled an empty diet coke can with luke warm water from the esky for us to wash our hands. The water had been used to soak our sweaty “Babette’s” (neck coolers) and hats. He put the can down, and the other guide unwittingly took a swig from it. They both thought it was the funniest thing, and it was certainly some welcome light relief after 5hrs hiking in 35 degrees!
We stumbled into our latest camp just in time for lunch. The monks kindly let us pour their holy water over ourselves, in a refreshing shower, and they’ve also allowed us to explore their prayer rooms, cooking and sleeping quarters.