Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Never Forgets

Day 321
Waking up hurt a bit but I managed to get to the lobby before Dezzi. Our ride was on time and soon we were off.

Our first stop was for an elephant trek. I thought that I had never been on an elephant before, but a couple of days later my Dad told me that I had ridden one as a child. Elephants have been domesticated in Thailand for a really long time. They used to be used for transportation, moving large things and all sorts of other stuff. With the advent of modern machines they were essentially jobless. Then came the tourist and most of them are once again gainfully employed. I’ve heard mixed reviews about these things. In some places the animals aren’t treated well. I had asked questions in advance and it seemed like we were going with a good company. The guides had long sticks with hooks meant to pull on Elephants eyelids, but they never once used them.

Before getting on the animals we took turns feeding them bananas. We wanted them to like us after all. To get on we had to climb up on a platform and the elephant remained standing. I ended up on one with Dezzi and Australian Domenic. Dezzi and I sat on the seat while Domenic road on the neck. It takes some balance to do that and I knew that wasn’t a great idea for me. Later on Dominic mentioned that whenever he lost his balance a bit the elephant would wrap its ears around him to help him stay on.

We meandered for a bit through the jungle. Our elephant was very well behaved. There was a Japanese family in the group with a 7 or 8 year old daughter. She was terrified of the elephant and they ended up with the misbehaving one. It walked off in the woods for a snack and then went for a drink of water. I guess he didn’t like her screams because he sprayed water all over them. It was pretty funny. When we got off a nearby 8 year old elephant tried to find some food in my pockets!

The next stop was a tribal village; it was really just some souvenir stalls and was quite boring. I mostly chatted with Claire and Daniela from London. Up next was lunch. This was really good because I was famished!

As this was an adventure tour we needed a bit more adventure. After lunch we hiked for about an hour to a waterfall. The hike wasn’t too bad, but there were some really hairy bits. We crossed over slippery rocks several times and sometimes had to balance on thin bamboo rods. I really quite enjoyed it. I guess that trekking is fun as long as I know that I can have a shower and don’t have to sleep in the woods afterwards! The waterfall wasn’t all that impressive and the water only came to my knees. Still, I wanted to stand in the waterfall and jumped right in. When I was getting out I got stuck in the sediment and fell over. It felt good after the hot walk.

Hiking back was much easier, mostly because we knew what to expect. Everyone else was doing the hike in sandals, I have no idea how they did it.

Our next stop was white water rafting. I ended up in a raft with Dezzi, Claire and Daniela. The water was low making the rapids rather high and making it easier to bump into some thing if you fell off. We could often feel the rocks under our feet. The whole thing was really wonderful; we screamed and giggled as we went over the rapids. I could have done this for a lot longer, but only after an hour it was over.

We stayed in the river to switch to bamboo rafts. My raft was the last to get on and the bamboo raft was already floating and inch under the water. With the added weight it wouldn’t float at all. We had to stay in the plastic rafts. This really irritated me because it wasn’t what I had paid for, but no one else complained so I kept my mouth shut.

The bamboo raft ride wasn’t long and soon we were back. The ride to Chang Mai was rather painful. We weren’t in a car, but a truck with two long bench seats in the back. I really would have liked to fall asleep, but there was no way.

Today’s trip had been one of my favorites, but I was glad to be able to come back and take a shower.

A short while later I met Dezzi, Dominic, Claire and Daniela for dinner. It was the most expensive dinner at $10. Afterwards we headed to a series of bars (they were all under the same roof, just with different names) that were full of lady boys. A little kid came up to Dezzi and started pulling very hard on his ear to get him to buy a rose. This went on for several minutes until Dezzi pushed him off. The kid would then come back and yell f-you at us every few minutes.

I went with everyone to the next bar but didn’t stay long. People were eating bugs from a street vender and I thought it was just really gross. It was a sign that my night was over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the elephant, it's incredible!