We rolled into Mon at 5am, I asked for the State Bank as that’s were I’d read most of the guesthouses are near, nobody could, or would tell me where it was.
A lady hanging out the window of a minivan asks where I’m going. I showed her a screenshot of Paramount Guesthouse, she pointed at her self, I assume she’s ‘Auntie’ the owner and lady in the photograph. She got out of the van and told me to follow. Trying to explain that I wanted to get to Longwa that day and was waiting to hear back from a guide. She insists I stay here and go in the morning.
The room was basic, dark, dingey, depressing and 1000rps. I didn’t take it.
Sat on the kerb surrounded by my own bags I buried my head in my phone screen and praised the Lord for 3G. I found the name of a local guide for Longwa Village who’s family also runs a guesthouse there.
By 2pm I was one of 10 squashed into the back of a ‘sumo’ – wedged inbetween Longsha’s sister and brother-in-law who was to be my guide for the following two days as Longsha’s daughter was sick so he couldn’t guide me himself.
We past multiple guys standing alone along the roadside holding limp dead birds in outstretched arms. I’m assuming they were for sale.
I felt my neck crack every time I dozed off and my head snapped back. I hadn’t slept the whole night before.
After almost two hours with a stop at a side-of-the-road fruit market we rocked up to Longwa.
The houses were big, each with a thatched roof, the town was green and people were busy. Some chopping bamboo, others returning with baskets of wood. Children carried even smaller children on their backs, strapped in with just a sarong.
I met Longshas parents – his mum ushered me in to sit and drink tea, his dad then showed me the room which was in a stone building opposite the main house. It was basic, just a bed in a room. Not even a light on the ceiling. But I was happy for the privacy.
The chicken that had travelled on the roof in a wicker bag with us from Mon was now being plucked by ‘Dad’ and was soon to be on our plates. Dinner was simple but tasty – rice, pickle, dal and a chicken soup.
We ate with our hands as both cat and dog hovered round us for scraps.
I retired early as lack of sleep doesn’t make me the most social human. I stared in awe at the glistening sky – the stars were so bright I almost didn’t need a torch for the short walk home. I brushed my teeth into the toilet with bottled water and was out quicker than you could say light.