Floating downstream

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Today was the last day of the trek and I was sad that it was coming to an end. The group had bonded brilliantly and I'm sure we will keep in touch. Evidently I wasn't snoring so badly last night as I didn't receive a beating during the night. I'm surprised I got any sleep at all really as it was bitterly cold. I was happy when the sun came up and it was time to leave. We didn't leave on time however as 2 of the German guys had decided to go for a walk this morning and not come back. Ended up waiting for nearly an hour before they finally returned!

We walked the final stretch of the trek for a couple of hours, relatively flat land so it was an easy walk after the last 2 days. Arrived at a small village and stopped for a while thinking it'd only be a short stay. After about 40 minutes we found out it was our lunch stop and they hadn't started making it yet! Get on and make it then! Thomas and Andrew amused themselves by making cups out of bamboo, the girls played around with the cute little puppies (there always seem to be cute dogs on the treks, unlike the vicious bastards everywhere else) and our guide Tom challenged me to kick the leaves on the nearby trees for some reason. I failed, but only just and that was without jumping as I was about a foot taller than him. I got him back by whooping him at cards.

Finally served dinner but we still couldn't leave because the German guys had disappeared again! After another 20 minutes wait they finally reappeared and ate their lunch.

The last part of our trekking adventure was bamboo rafting and it turned out to be the most fun I have had on the whole trip, well since Vang Vieng anyway! I have no doubt that this was one of the most dysfunctional groups they have ever had on any trip.

We were fine for about 10 minutes but then we snapped and it turned into all out war between the 3 rafts. We spent more time in the water than on the rafts.

At one stage I was steering the raft at the back when I decided the Germans on the raft in front were far too dry and had held us up all day so needed revenge. Spotted my chance, threw down the pole, ran the 10ft along our raft, leapt 5ft across the water, landed on their raft and continued running at full speed before choosing my target and rugby tackling him straight into the water! It was like something out of a movie and it so nearly ended in tears as I only just made the leap onto their raft.

After that anything went and no one ended up on the raft they started with. Not that there was much left of the rafts! By the end the rafts were completely destroyed. Standing on them was impossible as half the poles had come loose and your feet slipped through, so I nearly broke my ankle on numerous occasions. At the end we were just floating along holding onto anything we could. We were all soaked but didn't care as it had been so good! I heartily recommend bamboo rafting to anyone who gets the chance to do it.

Bundled into the tuk-tuk and spent the next 2 hours shivering back to Chiang Mai and the adventure was over. All of us were knackered so had a rest and well earned shower before heading out to dinner. I used this rest time to make a few calls and book a course. In the space of 10 minutes I was booked on a cooking course for the next morning, a bus to Bangkok tomorrow night and a boat to Koh Pha Ngan in a few days time! Hows that for planning! We were going to have a large night out but we were all so tired that we went straight to bed, except Thomas who stayed out until 2am.

A lot of people say that they would swap everything to go back to an easy way of life. Well as much as I loved the last 3 days I could never do it full time. I love my world of consumer goods, multi channel satellite television and general hussle and bustle of daily life too much to give it up for nothing.
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