'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Saturday, 8 December 2012


Day 12 – Longest time Tina has been without a beer since her last world challenge trip (her withdraws are gradually subsiding).

We were awake and packing before the rooster’s first crow this morning (maybe it was because we ate him for dinner last night), looking forward to the shower and ‘real toilet’ back in civilisation. After another hearty breakfast of rice and egg, we said our farewells and boarded our transport ready for the trip back to our hostel in Luang Prabang. After a quick freshen up, the team went their separate ways to source lunch, mostly consisting of burgers and fries. We then came together and travelled out to see a bear conservation centre. Downside - only saw three bears, upside – there also happened to be an amazing waterfall there where the team could go swimming and launch themselves off a rope swing into crystal blue water, (fully risk assessed of course).

Back at the hostel again and just when we thought we were safe from animals and bugs, a spider the size of a small comby van presented himself to a group of girls in their room. Our hero Cliff sprung to their rescue but the giant spider was too quick, even for Cliff (Ed. when it moved I’m not sure who was most scared the spider or me!!! It was huge but told the kids ‘arh its ok its typical of Laos’ :-/, and despite his awesome size managed to disappear, probably off to hunt buffalo or elephant.

With dinner and free time ahead, the kids were rejuvenated and ready to spend copious amounts of money on cheap crap at the night markets. Seriously, they went crazy. All the girls bought gypsy pants and the boys got themselves little flowery short shorts (Ed. even I was embarrassed about them!). But don’t worry, they went all out on buying their parents and siblings presents too, all I can say is just pretend you love your gifts!

Elphick family, you’ll be pleased to know that your daughter has only cried twice (unlike the blubbering mess you sent with us last time).

Moule family, your middle child is a feisty one with a foul mouth (she’s blaming mum for it by the way), and her and Sarah are being stingy with our team money. Future accountant’s maybe? Very good at sticking to our budget though. Caitlin on the other hand is a delight.

Smith family, your daughter called our team leader an asshole (Ed. I think we have unleashed a monster!!!!), it was well deserved (Ed. never, just because I said ‘no one likes a smart chick!’ lol). We are glad she has come out of her shell and showing the world what a fine little social activist she is! Her compassion and drive to ‘do good’ is truly admirable.

Webster family, your daughter used a shovel for a whole day and didn’t whinge once! She was also the only challenger that got up at 5am to witness a monk ceremony with us. Although, if she comes back with crazy stories about how we pinned her to the ground with her hands behind her back, don’t believe her! (Ed. expect her to return with some sort of strange accent)

Johnston family, we are coming to your house for Christmas lunch!! We absolutely love hearing about how excited Michaela is to return home to homemade caramel slice and sausage rolls (Ed. I think there is a little hint there ;-)). She is in her element shopping around the night markets and getting her many manicures.

Evans family, your kid never shuts up (Ed. he even had the audacity to tell the group to shut up last night because they were being too loud hahahaha). On the upside, sometimes the crap that spills from his mouth is usefull! May turn into a great leader.

Parish family, your son is a workhorse and eats like one too! Thank god for him being in Mel’s team on construction day at the project, (physical labour isn’t really her thing). Voted most helpful hiker by the other challengers for being so supportive. (Ed. What a good lad!)

Berecz family, thank you for blessing us with hurricane Shay. She lays dormant for hours at a time (seriously, your girl can sleep), but when she wakes she pretty much wreaks havoc on everything in her path! In saying that, she has us all under control and keeps us in line which is greatly needed at times. (Ed. her addiction to doing ‘selfy’ type photos has me worried!)

Siri family: Highlight of the trip so far has been Narikorn being attacked by ants yelling ‘ants in my pants‘, and then stacking it on a rock and falling into the river. Everyone laughed for hours on end, in fact we are still laughing about it days later. He is definitely the group entertainer and we are all glad he came. (Ed. He is living up to his Asian roots!)

Williams family, Cassidy must have the messiest room in the world! I was witness to an army of ants leaving our homestay with her left over pringles! She is the transport queen and we would be stuck in the middle of nowhere if it wasn’t for her.

Gardner family, your son is more than happy when he is talking about motorbikes and all things ‘manly’. It’s more than I’ve ever heard him say at school so I’m taking it as a sign that he’s really enjoying the hiking and trekking around. He was a little out of his comfort zone when asked to dance by a 100 year old village women on the last night of our project but sucked it up and showed us his moves anyway. (Ed. he actually enjoyed it but would never admit to it!)

Blanchard family, Alison has been an ‘asset’ in sourcing transport throughout our expedition! Lucky she’s been teamed up with Cassidy though because I’m pretty sure she’s trusting (aka – gullible) enough to believe anything she’s told. If it were up to her alone, we could be blogging from China right now. (Ed. apparently she hates digging trenches and cooking as her family have made her do it in the past and she also hates teaching so...I’m guessing she really needs to start planning now for her future career )

Nuttter family, your daughter is a wealth of knowledge thanks to the many hours she dedicates to researching the different phases of our trip. She is a great problem solver and we are thankful for her as we all know the boys won’t read a page out of the lonely planet. (Ed. needs to work on her core strength to stop the bashing of her head in Tuk tuk type transport on rough roads/tracks!)

Hayes family, despite having the runs for half our expedition so far, Jarred is enjoying the ‘active’ parts of the trip. The hiking and manual labour is right up his alley (Ed. although you would think he was bored) and his experience with soak well digging came in handy with our many hours of trench digging on project.

Basei family, you will be pleased to know that has maintained her weekly ritual of painting her nails. She is loving the manicures and pedicures and getting through those tough hiking days with a smile. (Ed. and she is working on facing up to her many fears...such as being in a bus with lots of other people trapped under 22 rucksacks lol)

Kirkpatrick family, what is wrong with Elis? He wears gypsy pants up to his neck in public and dances little jigs every opportunity he gets. He was, however, a hit at the farewell ceremony on our last night of project. Just quietly, I have my suspicions that he is actually a leprechaun! He keeps everyone in high spirits and we enjoy having a laugh at his antics.

Cooper family, what is wrong with Luke? He steals our cameras to take photos of himself and actively annoys us until we punch him (which he enjoys?). He has proven useful in booking our accommodation and actually glows with pride at his achievements. Anyone would think he was handing us over keys to a 5 star resort style room the way he beams.

Leland family, Sam was an absolute hit with the villagers and captivated them all with his guitar and singing skills. With only 4 strings he managed to play for a couple of hours each night. You never know he could be the next One Direction Member.

Kinross College family, a big hi from us. Enjoy the last week and a half of school and the staff party. Cheers from Laos.

Tina and Mel.

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