Birthday lunch, Akha style

28 May

Ned and Jung building a dam

It’s hard to know how to celebrate birthdays away from home.  Poor Eve rather missed out, I know she’d have loved a party like usual, and our attempts to do something special, like go to the cinema, backfired because we were in outback Australia.  To make up for it, we hot footed it to Monkey Mia the following day, which really was special.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake with Steve’s birthday.  We were planning to be in a small Akha hilltribe village in the jungle in Northern Thailand, so I knew cakes would be in short supply, but he loves walking in the jungle, which is what one does in that part of the world, so walking it was.

After a tricky bit of to-ing and fro-ing between guides, during which we worried about offending half the village, and probably did, we finally sorted out a trip to suit us.  Minimal walking (to avoid having to spend the entire day saying “come ON”), maximal jungle activities.

Over the course of a lovely day, we meandered all of five kilometers with our two guides, through sticky jungle where we marvelled at giant spiders and picked crunchy, tasty nuts, across a rickety bamboo bridge over a thundering waterfall, through a neatly cropped tea plantation, along a hot, dusty road to a Chinese village where we cooled off with icy cokes from the tiny shop and watched the school children heading home on their motorbikes, precariously carrying friends, machetes and guitars.

The highlight of the day was lunch.  We stopped by the side of a busy little stream, in the shade of some banana trees.  First job was to make the fishing rods with some line and suitably swishy sticks.  Then, in a belt and braces type of operation, we built a dam, to trap tiddly little prawns.  A fire was built, and cooking pots made from bamboo, for tea, baked eggs, noodle soup. We ate from newly minted bamboo cups with newly minted bamboo chopsticks, swirling woodsmoke scenting our clothes and hair. We may not have had cake, but it’s a birthday we won’t forget.


One Response to “Birthday lunch, Akha style”


  1. Stephen Fry and the Akha Hill Tribe « It's a small world after all - 18/10/2011

    […] hired guides and went for a long walk in the jungle.  They taught us how to cook Akha omelettes in a bamboo tube on the fire, and how to dam the river to trap tiny prawns.  They made the […]

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