….The walk was again not that challenging, with some short inclines but mostly it was flat…
It was a relaxed start, waking up to breakfast being made we had time to walk around the village taking photos or play with the kittens and even interact with some of the locals. By interact I mean smile and wave but it’s an acknowledgement.
With boots still slightly soggy from the rain the previous day we continued the walk that would bring us to the next village where we would stay for night tow. The views leaving the village were slightly less British than they had been the day before, still lots of green rolling hills but they were bigger and seemed to continue forever. Again the walk took us through lots of farmland and workers tending to the fields of crops, from chillies to corn, to the brightest purple aubergines I have ever seen! The scenery was more interesting than it had been on day 1 of the trek, with a pass through some huge limestone karsts (think Krabi in Thailand) toward the end of the day. With regards to physical difficulty, the walk was again not that challenging, with some short inclines but mostly it was flat.
After walking for approx 6 hours with a short break/nap for lunch we reached the village where we would stay for that night just before sunset, we were all very ready for a sit-down. The village was bigger than the last one and even had a shop! Fancy! But there was a problem, seems allllll the tour groups come to this same village to stay on day 2, homestay accommodation is first come first served and if you get there late, well there is a lot of negotiating that needs to be done.
While our tour guide went to try and find us a floor to sleep on for the night, our group hung out at the only shop we had seen that day and binged on some very tasty peanut brittle and watched local life passing us by. It was here that we were told about plans to build a guesthouse for all the tourists to stay in instead of putting them up in homestays. This led to the questions of whether the homestays were really legitimate or not, it seemed more like the family that lived in the house found somewhere else to stay whilst the tourists were there, so yes you are in their home, however not really a part of it.
Politics aside, our guide had found us a place to stay and we were full of sugar from the peanut brittle so we were in good spirits. Even a cold outside shower with no roof and only a tiny wall around it to cover our modesty didn’t take away our smiles. (nb: it covered nobody’s modesty, especially as the family could watch us from the roof!).
The house we were staying in was on stilts, similar to the previous night, and sleeping beneath us were 2 cows. Most of the family disappeared very soon after we arrived, leaving only a couple of elders who helped with cooking a really tasty peanut curry. Still jacked up on peanut brittle sugar we played cards for a while, we invited our guide and family members to join, but they declined.
The sun set and the cold came, none of us had the right clothes to keep us warm enough and so like penguins we got into our sleeping bags and hunched together for warmth. Closing the windows also seemed like a good idea until we realised that the smoke from the kitchen next door was turning the room into some sort of steamer/barbeque/carbon monoxide poisoning room, so we opened the windows again and hoped we would wake up in the morning. (spoiler alert: we did).
Our guide painted our faces with the yellow paste in mickey mouse shapes…
The floors are surprisingly comfortable and we woke up refreshed and rested. It was another relaxed morning, no rush to wake up or leave quickly. We even had the chance to put some Thanaka on our faces. Thanaka is the yellow paste you will see many people wearing on their faces. It is a mixture of bark and is used as protection from the sun.
Our guide painted our faces with the yellow paste in mickey mouse shapes, we went with it.
It must have been still quite early when we left the village back into the country as there was still a lot of morning due about and the ground was soggy.
Read more.. day 3 of the Kalaw to Inle trek continued on the next page