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'You don't want buy?  I will give you FREE'

Trip to Phu Hin Rongkhla

The girl

We saw her coming to sell the flower when we stopped the car in front of National Park entrance.
Everywhere, you can meet young vendors selling flower, toy (expires with in one day) or some grilled pork etc. when you are traveling Thailand.
She was one of them.
Its was still early for tourists, so we might be the first possible-customers.
As usual I avoid seeing her straight and say Mai-Aow ("No" in Thai).
She didn't go away.
She offered one free instead!
We were not prepared to such a generous offer thus for a moment didn't know how to handle the situation.
My wife reacted faster than me and gave some money (20Baht precisely).
Then I watched her closely.
She carries her brother on her back and it doesn't look like state-of-art sales strategy.  (Maybe so, but I didn't feel like that way).   In her smile, I could not find any tricks to get some profit from us.
I guess she is so proud of her work, that she just want to share with others.
I asked her if I can take her picture, because I had camera in my hand.
She posed.  Hardly a skilled model.  
But she has sincerity. 
I took this picture as her portrait. (Not tourist attraction - don't know what is the difference, though.)

I have never like the idea, taking pictures of hill tribe peoples.
They are quite popular object for tourists and photographers.
They wears their traditional costume, mostly bright colors.
Imagine Martian takes a picture of you as a specimen of a creature living in Earth...

I watching her eyes through my camera, I was fascinated by the innocence and kindness only real person can reveal. 
She still holds the money she got in her hand....
My curiosity slowly changed to a respect.
She is the right person in the right place, I am just an intruder.
She doesn't show any aggression to the fact but kindness to share simple wonder flowers can brings...

It was unexpected encounter to a real beauty of innocent people.
And I got in the car and drove away, confused.
Then I realized I still don't know her name.

Rhododendron We left home early in the morning on Friday (18 February 2000 - Buddhist holiday).  As usual, with BB and my wife.
Phu Hin Rongkhla is about 400Km north from Bangkok.

This is my second visit.   Last one was in July 1999.

Before (until we had stayed at P. Guest House at Sangkhlaburi), our accommodation standard was at least 3 star grade hotels.
Now BB is grown strong, and we found there are many clean and pleasant place to stay at very reasonable price - I mean 1000 Baht per night more or less).   And end up at a small resort surround by flowers near Khao Kor. 

The next day, we drove to Phu Hin Rongkhla.
From the parking lot near national park office, we had to walk an hour, to reach Flag Pole cliff.
The area is around 1000m above sea level.  And famous with Wild white rhododendron.
I meant to take a picture of the flower but the season simply not correct to find them.
Instead, I could make many photos for my Tropical Garden.

After short hiking (not so short for BB and my wife), we returned to Bangkok.
We found some nice resorts there, so we will go there again soon.

February 2000

History of Phu Hin Rongkhla

Communist Head Quarter Phu Hin Rongkhla was the headquarters of Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and its militia - People's Liberation Army of Thailand (PLAT) from 1967 through 1982.
This remote area is ideal for military movement and only 40Km from Lao border, which can make a easy retreat route.
Yunnan Province in China is only 300Km away, and there CPT got training in revolutionary tactics.
The camp of CPT at Phu Hin Rongkhla got crowded after October 1976 student uprising in Bangkok - hundreds of students killed by Thai army.   Many student fled here to join CPT.
They made a hospital and school teaching political and military tactics.
For nearly 20 years, Thai government could not take a control in this area.
In 1972, Thai government launched an operation, with no success.
By 1978 the population of Phu Hin Rongkhla reaches 4000.
1980 and 1981, Thai army attempted again and only got some part of area CPT territory.
Lethal attack to CPT came in 1982, when government declared an amnesty for all of the students joined CPT after 1976.
Most of the student left the camp, and that shaken the base of CPT movement.  A final military action in 1982 overrun PLAT resistance and the movement ended up with surrender.
Thai government declared the area as a National Park in 1984.
The park covers 307 Sq. Km of forest.


Plumeria - Feb 2000
Wild rose
Phu Hin Rongkhla
Not known

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