Category Archives: Finding Goodness

Langar – Khorog

TORNEM A CAMINAR !

FINALMENT REPRENEM LA NOSTRA RUTA A PEU !!!!

Molt breument per qui no hagi llegit les nostres entrades anteriors, direm que caminades Tailàndia i Birmània, reprenem la nostra ruta a peu a Langar, una petita població a la vall de Wakhan, a la punta sud-est de Tadjikistan i davant d’ Afganistan, que es troba a l’ altre costat del riu.

Després de Birmània, no hem seguit per Bangladesh i l’ Índia per evitar el monsó i fem ara el centre d’ Àsia per evitar el seu duríssim hivern.

Per què Langar? Per que és possiblement el primer poble que ens trobarem / trobaríem seguint la nostra ruta des de l’ Índia i continuant per Pakistan. Anant cap al nord de Pakistan i suposadament creuant un trocet d’ Afganistan, entrarem / entraríem a Tadjikistan arribant a la vall de Wakhan. Fent la nostra ruta entrarem / entraríem per Langar, així que és des d’ aquí Langar que reprenem la nostra ruta a peu.

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Walking the Wakhan Valley

 

We round a bend on the bumpy road, and I am immediately spellbound. I want to ask the driver to stop the car so I can fall to my knees and bow in honor the beauty before me. My jaw keeps slipping towards my chest with each rock we roll over. My eyes tear up.

“My god. It’s beautiful.” I whisper over the lump in my throat. I can’t make my mouth spit out the words, “Stop, please, stop. We must see this greatness at a standstill.”

I have never before truly understood what compels climbers to summit the world’s biggest mountains, but now I catch a glimmer into their psyche. Staring at the Hindu Kush from the road snaking through Tajikistan’s southern corner, all I want to do is touch these faraway jagged, snowy peaks. Touching them with my eyes is not enough. I want to touch them with my soul.

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What Would Love Do?

I roll over on the bamboo poles serving as tonight’s mattress. Tired, aching muscles clench both sides of my shoulder blades, and my hips don’t quite fit in the small spaces between the tied poles. I can only wish for more sleep, but it’s a wasted wish. It’s 3:50 a.m., a few minutes before our alarms go off.

I take a rushed and restless breath, and on the exhale,  a single thought floods my brain and body. Thinking about it will consume many hours of many days, and eventually it will become one of my personal carry-on-warrior mantras: What would love do?

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Mae Sot (Tailàndia) – Kyaikhto (Birmània)

 

Benvinguts a Birmània. Ja estem campant per aquí, un nou indret que fa molt poc que sembla voler obrir-se al món.

Certament ha representat un canvi per nosaltres. No només en els temes típics i bàsics com poden ser la moneda, l’idioma, les precioses lletres i xifres del seu alfabet… sinó que també ens afecten força aspectes més quotidians com l’allotjament, disponibilitat d’aigua, de connectivitat a internet, els menjars, la calor, l’estat de les carreteres, la durada del visat…

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Celebrating Strangeness

We crest a hill, round a bend and instantly become famous.

The family of about 20, huddled around a fire in front of their house, wave to us and greet us with big hellos. We smile and wave back. They start pulling out their smartphones. We start pulling out our smartphones. We are, hands down, the strangest thing that passed in front of them  today on this back country road. We find them strange, too…strange in the way that makes every single one of us fascinating.

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Curiosities From…Thailand

Traveling opens our eyes, and we see things we normally may not notice or give much thought to.

While some things may feel familiar, other things feel unique or special to a place.  We call these unique things curiosities…things that are different enough to make us shrug our shoulders and go “hmmm…what is that about?”

Lluís has done a great job keeping a running list of these curiosities during our month of walking in Thailand, and you can read it here in Catalan.  I ran out of time translating the draft before we crossed into Myanmar, so I’ll offer up my top 10 list instead, working backwards as David  Letterman did.

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Mae Sot

 

Aquests últims dies, Mae Sot. Aquesta ciutat fronterera, porta de sortida de Tailàndia cap a Myanmar (Birmania) ha esdevingut la nostra petita base d’operacions per recuperar forces i preparar l’entrada a un nou estat.

Durant aquests dies hem estat força ocupats amb un parell de temes.

El primer i principal ha estat mirar d’ajudar, presentant-nos com a voluntaris, a alguns camps de refugiats o a algunes organitzacions humanitàries. Hem trucat forces portes, hem parlat amb gent, en nom de les persones que generosament ens han confiat alguna donació econòmica i en el nostre propi nom, hem fet dues donacions monetàries a una ONG i a una clínica (mini hospital) que ajuda a refugiats, però no hem aconseguit poder ajudar enlloc amb la nostra feina. Per això estem un xic decebuts.

El segon tema de la setmana ha estat conèixer una persona fabulosa, generosa, idealista, ciclista… així com el seu entorn personal que ens ha cuidat, ajudat i captivat.

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Kamphaeng Phet – Mae Sot

 

Ja hem arribat a Mae Sot ! L’últim punt del nostre recorregut per Tailàndia a només 5 km de Myanmar. Quan començavem a caminar allà a Bangkok ara fa tot just 4 setmanes miravem el mapa i ho veiem força lluny. Ara acabem d’arribar i ho fem molt sencers físicament i molt, molt contents i satisfets per la feina feta i les vivències/experiències viscudes.

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Finding a Safe Place to Sleep: Ban Lan Sang

The man with the big smile and kind eyes passes us his phone. He wants us to speak to his son.

“Hello again,” we say. We spoke to the young man a few minutes ago on speaker phone. His father called him when he saw we were having problems reading the menu of the restaurant we found ourselves in at the end of a 26-kilometer stretch. Thai letters are beautifully curvy, but we have no clue what they say. Both father and son wanted to make sure the cook understood that we requested our favorite, easy-on-the-stomach walking dish: fried rice with chicken and a fried egg.

“Hi. My father will take you to a homestay where you can sleep tonight, and tomorrow he will take you back to the intersection where you are now so you can continue walking. Ok?” The young man on the phone is in Bangkok, a few hundred kilometers from our finish line today, Ban Lan Sang, a speck of a town near Road 12 which will take us into the Thai hills and eventually into Myanmar. His English is very good, and our Thai is pathetically bad.

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