Published for the Royal Geographical Society by J. Murray,
Text on page 17
TEE UPPER MEKONG, SIAM.
a at sunrise, the Laos guide and myself reached the small shelter at Hoay Nai at one oa clock, the rest of my Siamese straggling in well hlown an hour later, and the elephants climbing down the steep watercourse at three. This is generally the extent of a day s march, and the average rate of jungle-travelling, allowing for stoppages, is never over 2J miles an hour, and a six hoursa march is as much as the Siamese can do; in these hills the elephants certainly do not do more than 2 miles an hour. To the Laos trotting along on foot there is, however, no limit that I ever discovered, even with the heavy loads which they carry swung on a pole across the shoulder. With a couple of handfuls of kao neo, the hill-rice, which they steam a over a pot into a glutinous mass, very handy and portable for the daya s march, and with some dried fish and a banana, and a long pull at the fresh stream water once in the day, they will go cheerily from morn till night, swinging when necessary their long dhap (a sword of Burmese style, which every man over sixteen carries if he be a man at all), to cut and lop the branches and jungle which are for ever blocking the tracks. This stopping-place was one of the wildest we were ever in; nothing but jungle and mountains all around, the place itself a tiny clearing in the bottom of a deep narrow ravine, where the monster trunks climbed far above us, leaving only one little space of open sky, from which at three oa clock the sun was shut out, and where at half-past five night had fairly set in. A number of gangs going south from Nan were camped here with us.
Another, easy, march brought us to Muang Hin, over 1200 feet above sea-level. Imagine a number of lovely villages clustering among their coconut and areca palms, in a beautiful wide valley surrounded by forests and hills, the glistening yellow paddy-stalks bright in the afternoon sun, with the black backs of the buffalo moving lazily about; the homely red of the little oxen, and the moving islands the a elephants make whisking the paddy in their trunks; with the village sounds drifting down the quiet aira the distant drum at the monastery, a whose grey roof stands above the other houses, or the far-off a poot, poot a of the a nok poot a in the jungle (a black bird, by the way, with a long pheasant-like tail and light red wings)a and you have an idea of the lovely scene which spread before us that evening as we emerged from the hills.
This valley runs parallel to the Nam Nan valley to the eastward, but drains in exactly the opposite direction, the water runningThis valley runs parallel to the Nam Nan valley to the eastward, but drains in exactly the opposite direction, the water running