Everything From Elephants 2 Spas to trains

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Jungles, elephants, bamboo rafting and mozzie bites were the order of the day on Monday.

The bus picked us up from our hotel and sped off into the mountains where our elephants awaited. They are beautiful animals, and very very big. But they are very friendly too. Myself and Aishling got one to ourselves and we headed into the jungle (not by ourselves, we had a guide of course - he sat on the elephants head). It really was dense in there. There were some trails that the elephants had established over the years but our guide let the elephant go into the denser parts and reef down some trees and stuff, which was fun and hopefully not damaging to the ozone layer or anything.

We got to feed her (it was a 'her') too and there are pit stops along the way where you can find locals selling bananas and sugar cane. She reached her trunk up to us to get fed. Lots of fun. She brought us to a Hmong village, a settlement of indigenous people, which I must say was not very enjoyable at all. It was like a human zoo where we came and looked while the locals performed. Someone told us that the only reason they still even live here is because they make so much money from the likes of us, so I can't complain really since its kinda our fault that they are this way in the first place.

From the zoo we headed to a river where loads of tourists were hopping onto bamboo rafts, so we joined them. This was suprisingly fun. The raft isn't bouyant enough to stay above the water but it doesn't sink. It stays right below the surface so your bum gets wet!! We went down through the jungle and kept an eye out for snakes and the like, but didn't see any. It was just relaxing though and so quiet. I didn't bring the camera down with me coz I thought it might fall in the river and get destroyed so there are no photos of it. You'll just have to take my word that we actually did it.

After that we got back on the bus and headed home happy as Larry.

The next day we booked a cookery course for Wednesday before heading off to our 'relaxing' spa. They came and picked us up from the hotel (seems to be the norm in Chiang Mai) and brought us to the Oasis Spa, which is just outside the main city walls. The place smelled lovely, don't know what it was they had in the air but it was nice. The place looked fab aswell.

We sat down to discuss what we were going to get done, while the desk caught fire!! Seriously, smoke was eminating from one of the drawers!! The receptionist jumped up and screamed and someone else ran out, opened the drawer and pulled out a smouldering cigarette lighter and piece of paper which it had set alight. Mad stuff. I'd say she was fiddling with the lighter and threw it into the drawer when it was hot as we arrived. Off to a good start then.

I opted for a sea salt body scrub, which was painfull but invigorating. Shower. Next came a Morrocan mud wrap, which was also nice. She covered me in mud and wrapped me in plastic and towels for 40 minutes, sounds like a scientfic experiment. Shower again. Then onto a full body moisturising session followed finally by a mineral mud facial. All very posh indeed.

I must say it was one of the most relaxing things I ever did and I'd recommend it to anyone. I felt great for days after it. Now all I have to do is wait for lip from the lads.

The cookery course turned out to be good fun as well. They also picked us up from our hotel (surprise, surprise) and brought us to the cookery school which was a good hour away in this lovely house owned by a Thai TV chef who runs the courses. He didn't teach us all the time, only on one of the dishes, but the other teachers were good too. We did fruit and veg carving first and afterwards made 6 different Thai dishes, from pork and noodle soup to roast duck in a red curry sauce. It was really good fun, probably the highlight of Chiang Mai (after the Spa of course). You even get a cookery book to take home with you. Fab.

This entry is nearly finished, I promise!! So the next day we were to catch an overnight train to Bangkok in the evening, pick up something we left there, and then fly to Ko Samui that afternoon. We rented a moped (they really are a life saver) for the day while we waited to go and did a spot of sightseeing, left the moped back at about 3.30 and went to catch our train which left at about 5pm. Of course we couldn't get a taxi for love nor money, typical. We were really cutting it close when finally we got a lift and headed to the station in heavy traffic. Relief!! Well, maybe not too much relief. We arrived at the station, paid the driver, ran to the platform and ....no train!! It left!! Gone!! Shit!! Bit of dillemma. We went to the ticket office to try get a later train. No seats. We couldn't wait till the next day because we had to be in Bangkok to catch our flight the next day.

What to do!! The only thing we could do really. We got a refund on our tickets (well half anyway - couldn't really expect a full one on a train that was gone) and headed to the airport, booked a flight to Bangkok for 40 Euros each and off we went. Easy.
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