Deet Me, Overheat Me, Just Don’t Let the Leeches Eat Me !
May 27, 2008 Central Highlands, Vietnam Ahhh, back to civilization after 2.5 days of jungle hiking in the central highlands. The first 45 minutes was a killer….hot and humid and steep-ish but it was all downhill and flat after that. We’d paid close attention to the leech advice….spray repellent around the socks/feet/pants, tuck the cuffs into the socks and keep the eyes peeled for eager looking squirmers. We looked like real troopers. At the end, I discovered that two sneaky leeches had wormed their way under my clothing…one enjoying a lengthy snack on my left thigh and the other filling beyond capacity on the back of my neck. Grooossssssssss !!! It’s my third experience with the little beasts and I have to say that my heart has not developed any soft and sentimental feelings in their direction. At least they are painless and generally disease free. The hilltribe visits were nice….we stayed in long stilt houses on individual mattresses with mozzy nets….unpleasantly awoken at 3 am the first night by a mooing vs crowing competition between the cows and roosters (“boy chickens”). Cows, as it turns out, can be very, very loud….doesn’t help that they live under the floorboards of the house. That went on for ages…long before sunrise so I’m not sure what got them going. After an extremely heavy rain and lightning storm and a filling dinner which included the best french fries any of us had ever eaten, the second night was much more restful, A strong morning coffee, though, is always a welcome jumpstart to the day. Contact with the villagers was minimal..the kids were pretty serious….not the usual tribal visit but still a good experience. A couple of the passengers took an elephant ride on the way out. We were witness to a sick elephant tossing it’s passengers (not our folks) off and laying down on the ground. Now we are back in the city…famous coffee region in Vietnam ….and SHOWERED !!!! Ahhhh, the feeling of cool water all over the body…and clean clothing…….so nice.