Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Long Neck Tribe in Northern Thailand

Bamboo is the tool of choice for all buidlings. A young son is helping dad stabilize the round bamboo.
The village gauntlet of merchandise

The longest neck there today. 28 rings. Apparantly their necks don't get longer, their shoulders get lowered.

A tribal woman at her doorstep

A tribal hut

The hillside with budha image in the hill. Apparantly these buidlings are 5-6 hundred years old.

Ted and Laela in the cave where there are wonderful carvings ans images of budha throughout.

A pagoda that houses the ashes of some famous monks. The architecture has the flavour of the Burmese or Miramar people. Very intricate stone work instead of the additions of fancy addornments of Thai and Chinese style pagoda structures

Farmers working in the rice paddies which are now growing ginger and garlic. Rice was harvested in November and December and now the paddies are filled with other plants including the above and soybeans.

We verntured out on a long, long bus ride from Chiang Mai to the Northern borders of Thailand. On the way we wound our way around mountains at break neck speeds and enjoyed the lush vegetation of Thailand. The one thing that made me sad is that any scenery pictures I took ended up looking hazy. Not sure if this is the effect of humidity or polution. We were far away from cities but it still looked Hazy. On this tour we drove a lot! More than we would have liked and saw two things. First an old monastary in the mountains, which included a walk through a cave. I found it OK, but don't love small enclosed places. It was truly beautiful and had the influences of Burma or Miramar in the architecture and the look of buddha. Since we were fairly close to that border, this made sense. We then had a lovely lunch at a cooking school on the river. Did I mention the food here is over the top??? Anoter 1/2 hour drive got us to the area where we would see the Long Neck tribe and several other tribes which the names of I have already forgotten. For me this was the horrible part of the trip. We went to this little village comprising of about 5 different mountain tribes. All from different countries who have come to Thailand as refugees. The government here keeps them in these little villages and allows them to work the land and get the produce off the land for a small tax and the willingness to be "on show". The guide wanted us to take lots of photos and I did take some but I felt in my heart that it was like being at a zoo, looking at the different people and snapping their photos in a false setting. They were also all trying to sell us something and I felt obligated to oblige (which also makes me uncomfortable). Seeing the long neck tribal women was interesting and found that these long necks are seen as a thing of beauty. The woman with the longest neck has the most prestige and power. They begin wrapping the necks of girls at about age 5 and add more rings about every 3 years. The rings are removed when a woman goes into labour and reapplied after the baby joins the world. We lifted one of the rings (made of copper). It was very heavy! I am glad our beauty isn't dependent on the length of our necks. I would truly loose that battle.

1 comment:

  1. When do you head to the south? Are you busy relaxing already? I'm going to hear MCI sing at the gala with westgate on Friday. Aleah said she would be there.