IN THE HILLS NORTH OF CHIANG RAI…
Children from a hill tribe village nearly sacrificed me to their god.
We stopped at a small hill tribe north of Chiang Rai on our way to the Mekong River. As I have mentioned before and will continue to mention, Mr. Louie was spectacular. This was another unplanned stop to immerse us in the Thai culture.
Hill tribe villages in the northern part of Thailand historically played a huge part in the opium growing and production of Southeast Asia. Their chief villagers would wear heavy headdresses adorned of pure silver.
That is pure, heavy, silver on the head of this Thai grandmother.
The villagers showed us inside of their huts to see how they live. It’s eye-opening and sad. The huts are made of wood with mud-clay floors. Minimalistic, no furniture, a few basic metal cooking utensils. The main room has a small square woven table which serves as their kitchen table.
A boy about seven years old is telling us (in Thai, Mr. Louie translates) about a large 20+ foot python that slid into their hut the night before.
As the boy is telling us about the python, a young girl of about six grabs my hand and is smiling up at me. I simply assumed she was in awe of my blonde hair and Western appearance. The next thing I know this adorable two year old is grabbing onto my other hand.
As we leave the hut my groups walks towards the entrance of the village where we came from. The children start leading me up the hill smiling and staring at me.
The next thing I know, we’re climbing higher and higher. Villagers are peaking out from their huts.
Suddenly, I hear one of my group members and Mr. Louie screaming that I absolutely CAN NOT go up there. And to TURN BACK NOW. NOW!
One of the British gentlemen makes a joke that the children were leading me to the top of their village in order to sacrifice me to their gods.
With a half laugh I turn my gaze towards Mr. Louie. He shrugs and says “They are hill tribe. You’re blonde and a good omen to come to their village. They might feed you to that python they caught last night.”
Oh. My. God.
I learned that the hill tribes do not follow Buddhism as 92% of the country does. Hill tribes follow the old ways. Mysterious, python-god ways.