My heel was broken as I stood on a dirt road in Myanmar, drenched, dirty and muddy, a machine gun pointed in my direction. I am no longer ashamed to admit that, yes, I had peed myself but let’s be honest, you would have too.
Five days earlier I had departed into the Thai jungle in search of an infamous waterfall, so beautiful, that I would drop to my knees and weep with unashamed joy- a wailing waterfall, if you will. Nine hours, wet clothes, (not to mention an unexpected ambush of the ‘Aunt Flo’ kind), and an elusive campsite later, we were doubting our escort’s broken English promises.
The next five days consisted of a long, wet, arduous trek through seemingly uncharted territory, dodging giant spiders, alluding gargantuan mosquitos, and avoiding rather aggressive birds. We begrudgingly walked, rode unstable elephants and rafted for days, singing Mariah Carey songs and praying for our ‘dream lover to take us away’ from the hell we had voluntarily entered.
‘5 minutes!’ the guides barked for the gazillionth time when we asked how much further. An hour later, we arrived at our destination. I held my breath in anticipation of the sight that would justify this torturous ordeal. And yes, I gasped. I fell to my knees and I cried. Before me stood brown rocks, discoloured with limescale, tarred from algae, brown thick water trickling down the precarious landscape. My tears, my hands, my knees, all fell on unsympathetic ground.
Emerging from the jungle, we slumped toward to a dirt road, defeated and ready for a hot shower. Upon realizing that we had left Thailand and wandered into war torn Myanmar, we asked our hosts to quickly return us to the border. ‘You pay,’ they snapped. An argument ensued, raised voices, English, Burmese, Thai, noise! So much noise! They drew their weapons and pointed the barrels in our direction. This is the part when I peed myself….