Trip Start Mar 09, 2008
43Trip End Dec 10, 2008
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Well what a few days we've had!!
So we took the train up to Chiang Mai on Thursday night. It was okay. As Keir said before we got the top and bottom bunks in a second class car. (all the 1st class were full) Kinda rickety but what do you expect. There was no intercom system so the guard went down the aisle with a megaphone. First in Thai, then in English (barely) and the funniest thing was his French. "Bonjour bonjour...salut, salut....ca va ca va ca va...Merci" Yep...very descriptive. This was supposed to mean, "the man will come by when you are ready and make your beds for you. Just let him know" Anyways, he made our beds and put up the curtains for us. Then we both huddled in the bottom bunk for a bit and read our books, then I decided to go up to my bunk...oh gawd...first of all this was an air-con car...the vents were right above my face blowing consistently on me, the lights for the whole car were directly above me, the "bed" part was about the same as a yoga mat, and I seriously felt like I was in a really cold, hard, ultraviolet coffin
We got to Chiang Mai around 10am ish. As usual there were a whole bunch of taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers wanting to take us to the "best place in town". But we saw the hostel rep we were going to stay at and went with him. Off to Julia's place in the taxi. When we got there it was full. Okay..no prob...so with the free ride in we wandered across the street to another hostel. Simple but seemed fine. Only 150 thb a night (that's $3) It was right on the main drag so was quite loud during the night, we didn't get a very good nights sleep. Next morning we went to find yet another place we could call home while we were in Chiang Mai. The Pirates cove...seems okay, big room, free wireless...but as I found out that night in the bathroom....it wasn't just mangy dogs and cats everywhere, but cockroaches too. I had the unfortunate pleasure of having one of them run up my leg. Ewwww. We left the next day...this time we found an awesome place...sorta motel style...BUT WITH A POOL!!! Oh baby this is the oasis we have been looking for!! Comfy bed, our own bathroom, and pool. Sweet.
So Chiang Mai is a pretty cool place
We had already decided earlier that we wanted to do a trek in Thailand, but wasn't sure what kind. We came across a lady who sets up tours when we were getting our clothes washed (30 baht a kg by the way). There was a few options...elephants, visiting hill tribes, waterfalls, white water rafting, bamboo rafting, caving, cooking, etc. and from 1 to 3 days. So we went with the full meal deal. 3 days 2 nights. In the end, the way we worked it out, it saved us money by going!! Crazy!! There were 8 of us in total. We met at 8:30 on Monday morning, and had our stuff put into lockers. Only bringing minimal stuff, off we went. It was about a 1 hour bus ride and we stopped at a little market to buy toilet paper and water and anything else we might have forgotten (still reasonable prices)
Around 4:30pm we get to the village were we were going to spend the night. It was the Karen long-neck tribe. The ones with the rings around their necks and legs) We were all covered in dust, sweat and ash. Ash because they continuously burn off the bamboo leaves that have fallen on the ground. Everywhere we walked it seemed to be smoldering close by. The tribes people were still out working when we got there so we all took turns dumping cold water from a bucket to try and clean ourselves off as best we could with very limited facilities, although cleaner then some bathrooms in Bangkok. Then we all sat around and played cards until the tribe came back. When they did, it was kinda weird. We hadn't been told what we should or should not do
We sat around where the first fire originated and the women of the village came out in their attire and danced for us! Very neat. One man had a guitar, yuckalaylee thingy, a bongo drum, symbols, and the others had pot lids. There were about 10 of them. When the pig was well roasted we had platters and platters of meat! And a really wicked sauce to dip it in. (Soya sauce, limes, chili, garlic, fish sauce) We went around and offered it to the villagers as well. They were very appreciative and surprised. Our guide told us that no other group had really done that for them before. We also bought all of them beers. Lots of smiles! Speaking of smiles...there were these 2 little girls who LOVED the camera! They posed for us for about an hour. Making funny faces and giggling. I think I took about 15 pictures of them! The whole time people were singing and dancing. Between 2 Canadians, 3 Americans, 1 Aussie, 1 British and 1 Spanish we were trying to figure out a song we could all sing for them....What a difficult feat
After they all went to bed we stayed up and played more cards. We went to bed around midnight and was awoken at 3am by another stupid rooster. I really don't think we could ever get used to those flippin animals. They were under the huts where we were all sleeping. I think they knew we were there and would do their horrid cock-a-doodle-doo under each one of our heads. Let's just say that we were happy to be having chicken for lunch the next day!
When we actually got up we only had another 40 minute hike to the elephant camp. Easy peasy!! We got there and rode on them for about 30 minutes, gave them bananas and took pictures. The one that Keir and I rode was 65 years old!! He was HUGE! The one behind us was pregnant. Pretty neat to see. Then we headed off to a water fall to go swimming...it's dry season so really there wasn't a water fall at all. Mostly just a river with potholes to play in and wade. Very refreshing. Then off to the white water rafting!!! Ooooooooo...doesn't that sound fast??? And exciting? Well I'm sure in the wet season when there is water actually rushing it would be
More later...sorry it took so long for an update!!
Miss you all!
Keir and Kylie