Up in the mountains, thru the forest, and the over-night-ing

What’s the hell? This cite doesn’t support VietKey? OK, then I have to write in English. Been a long time since I last wrote in English. Good to have some obligation.

So it was about one BBQ party organized by the bank of Sognvann. The plan was that after the grilling, we’d take a tour to a lake (somewhere near Ulleval senter), some even planned to set up a camp and spend the night in the forest. At least they thought about it as they warned us to bring some warm clothing and bedding along. As it always turned out, no one brought anything, not even the tent!

But anyway, the grilling was as planned. We contributed some bears, sorry, beer, and a bear too, of course.

A bear with a beer, but the beer we brought was in bottle, not this one. Just that Vietnamese people are crazy about Heineken.

And we brought some grapes too.

This is Mr. Bear rinsing the grapes with mineral water. Oh yes, we brought mineral water too (for rinsing grapes!)

The grill meats was tasty. We ate grilled pork ribs and chicken wings. As told by the host (Mr. Hung), the secret ingredient in the grill marinating paste was romme (in Norsk – a kind of sour creme similar to yoghurt, I guess). While we were busy eating (as the bear family always come a bit late), others took lots of pics. Unfortunately they mostly used their cam. We managed to get some on ours too.

First, sitting down on a rock. I like this green-patterned dress a lot but it was a bit cold at dusk so I needed an outer sweater.

But then the photographer (Khoa) went to the next level, and required us to be more ’emotional’. So Ok, here’s a hug.

And then he asked us for a kiss, but that’s too much.

And then he asked for a smile. We smiled, and he said after looking at the pic, ‘You look UGLY when you smile.’ What a nice comment. So no more photographer-pleasing!

As it gets darker, the forest vampires started to go search for blood. They found one, with chubby beary fingers.

The boys managed to play some football, but this is what happened when you play football near a lake.

After finished with eating, we decided to fire the photographer and shoot ourselves. Khoa saw us and gave us the label ‘The Saigonese Drama Team’ (Đoàn cải lương Xì Goòng) Hic, why does VietKey work now? Anyway…

Well, trust us, we don’t always look this bad.

So we decided to set off. Actually it was a bit confusing whom was the leader of the tour, as there were 2 and each of them give a different destination. Before setting off, they drown a bottle of champagne into the lake, just to keep it cold and make sure not stolen. Off we went into the forest, at about 10 p.m, with no map, nor torch. The Norwegian evening was still bright for the journey.

The Bear family was the last in the group, as we didn’t hurry. We walked up hills and the path was quite boring, with just tall dark pines along the way. Far ahead in the distance, our friends were out of sight, but from time to time we heard their laughing and excited creaming. Finally we met at a crossroad at about 11p.m and then the group decided which destination to take. Khoa was the leader and opted for a path thru the forest. I was quite thirsty, so I got the orange juice bottle and drank along the way. From then on, we needed to stay close together as we were off the main path and could get lost in the forest. Khoa estimated that we’d be back at around midnight or 1 a.m if we didn’t hurry.

It was darker, but not completely, as we could still see our track. We walked along a small trail, over the rocks, and tree roots, grass and small damps. From time to time we made wolf’s cries to scared the dogs of the houses nearby, and they barked back nervously. Everyone started to feel a bit impatient, and tired and start to hide it by telling all kind of jokes and riddles. The boys warned the girls not to be the last one as wolves would always get the last one. It created an immediate impact and there was a significant boost in speed of the girls. We got some sticks from small tree trunks to aid us as canes thru the difficult parts of the trail. And so we kept walking deeper and deeper into the forest, into the night, and into the fear of ghost, of Norwegian monsters in the woods, and being lost.

Anyway, I have to admit that it is always more interesting and fun to walk in the forest than on the main paths. You see variations along the way, and the ground under your feet also have different textures. Sometimes you have to tiptoe on the fallen trees over some damps, and the bushes beside you can always promise some surprising experience. Once a boy hid himself in a bush, waiting for the later group to come by, and he plunged humself out, with a big scary cry, and Nga screamed out and jumped back. Everyone was so amused and laugh so hard about it.

Lastly, we got out of the forest and back on the main path. But still we did not see the lake. It was too dark to see the directions on the trees by the side of the road, so we had the brilliant idea of taking pic of it.

We had no idea where we are and where we could get to where we should be. On this direction, it shows that the closest T-bane station is 6.5 km away and the closest village was 10 km away. I simplified our walking a lot as we walked for a very long time, and every one was very tired. Feet hurt and everyone joked about our situation, why us these crazy people chose to take a walk in the middle of nowhere at midnight when we should be sleeping in bed. We took rest several times during the trip.

The bear family was caught being too ’emotional’ for the moment when everyone should be exhausted and worrying.

Then we had to continue walking although we didn’t know which was the correct way to go, and where we were heading. It was about 2 a.m and we were quite sure that we were lost. Once we were going past a car, and we realized that car was somewhat abnormal. The light in the car was still on, and the radio was singing, the hind door was open. And the fact that there was a car beside the road there, at that hour is also unusual. So it triggered our imagination about all the horror movies that we saw, that it can be a stolen car, or it can be a car of a victim, who was kidnapped and murdered in the deep forest. Or if you saw ‘The Wrong Turn’, or ‘Jeep Creeper’ or any other horror movies in which the monster/killer has a car and can come out to slaughter the unlucky preys who venture past his way, it applied very well to our case. So we were all very scared, and the group decided that as far as we didn’t see any … dead body, or blood around, we should keep moving and not mess with that car.

But we were with a …bear, and this bear was too cautious to let it pass him by. So Mr. Bear told me that we need to come back and take pic of the plate of the car to report to the police. I told Khoa about that, and Khoa (maybe he was also scared of coming back to the mysterious car) called another guy (strong, big and with a tree cane) to join the brave group. This guy before joining us, told another girl ‘If anything happens to me, will you please write to my mum?’

Nga was walking with me, and it was apparent that she was extremely scared. She didn’t want to come back to the car but she thought it would be not nice to leave me in this critical moment. So she walked back too. And as we were walking towards the car (which was white a distance from where we were then), she asked herself what’d happen if she got … killed then, she’d not have a chance to come back to VN (oh, and she was going to coming back soon, why it has to happen now?) I was scared too, of course, but sometimes I was just pushed into situation without any resistance. I told Nga what if we report to the police and the police give us a big reward. Nga became a bit happier and started to imagine how we’d share that money.

The closer we got to the car, the more scared we felt. So after we took pic of the car’s plate. We started to ran back to the rest of the group. But then, suddenly we saw somethings strange and unexpected ahead of us. It was a ray of light! At first Nga thought it was the sun rising, but it was not. The sun rises very early at this time of the year, but not yet. Then we saw that it was the light from … another car! Was that the ally of this murdered car? And they were coming back to fetch the victim? Or erase the traces? And as we discovered them, will they kill us all to cover up? We were so so fringhtened, and didn’t know what we should do. Should we continue go back to the rest of our group where the second car was then? What has this second car done to them? Suddenly we realize the classical situation we were in according to some horror movie motifs. We were splitted from the big group, thinking they’d provide us with security. And all of a sudden, they were gone, we became on our own!

The guy walking beside Nga turned to her and whispered a hair-raising question: ” Do you think that when we get up there all the rest of our friends would be on the ground, killed?” Nothing could hit Nga better than that thought, and she didn’t know what she wanted, to continue to go to this slaughtering scene or stay back with this mysterious car behind. Trapped between killers, simply! So Nga clinged to the guy, hoping that he’d be the shield from any … bullets against her. We were all in the mood of getting to be killed.

But it turned out that our friends were still safe and sound. They were still there and asking for direction form the car’s driver. According to this driver, we were at a ‘dead end’ and if we kept walking, we’d be just deeper into the forest. So we decided to head back. The thought of having to walk all these incredible long distance, and passing this killer’s car again, is a terrifying thought. But we had no other choice. One guy previously announce his ‘carrying service’: 500 NOK for one person now got his first customer, but he then was also too exhausted, so he refused her. Anyway, it was good to be together again, knowing that no one was killed and no killer was coming. When we passed this car again, a girl asked a guy what he saw in this car. ‘Nothing, he said, just a cut-off head’ The girl screamed and ran off from the scene.

I’d not need to describe how painful the way back was, but for that people started to be hungry and thirsty. They started to mention the bottle of champagne they drowned, wondering if it was still there (which was like a faraway dream) and their memory suddenly became so vivid about all the good food they eat in Vietnam, which place gives the best dish, and which ingredients a dish is composed of. Finally, we made it back to Sognvann at maybe 4 a.m, shilvering with cold, found the champagne and sipped it with some dried spicy beef.

Although it was a fun trip I can say, with a variation of emotions included, I’m not sure if I’m willing to take part in the next trip with these people. At least I always like stories with happy ending!

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