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Battered Suitcase “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” Jack Kerouac

Last day of Thai adventures

THAILAND | Wednesday, 20 May 2009 | Views [869] | Comments [4]

Yesterday shaped up to be one of the best of our whole trip.  We got picked up in the morning by our guide, Eddy, who had great English and a passion for Lady Gaga's song "Poker Face."  We also joined an American and a New Zealander who were going on the same day trek.  We headed outside of town, drove for about an hour, and with little ado jumped out of the van and onto the back of an elephant.  It was an incredible experience- the animals were really methodical and slow but you could tell how powerful they were since the mahouts could barely control them, and the elephants basically did whatever they wanted.  We rode up and over a mountain, through a river, and then got to feed our elephants bananas.  We stood on a platform and they reached their long trunks right up to us to take the bananas out of our hands!  For me, the day (and life) was complete after this experience, but there was actually much more to come.  We visited a traditional hill tribe village, where they engaged in traditional crafts like "selling souvenirs" and "waving at tourists" the way they have for centuries.  We left the village to start our trek through the jungle.  It was really beautiful country, especially the gorgeous waterfall we visited, but it was incredibly hot and buggy so I think one day of walking was just perfect.  Worn out from our trek, we gratefully stopped at a little restaurant for a simple Thai meal, complete with fresh pineapple for desert- very refreshing!  Last, we got to ride a bamboo raft down the river.  We were a little worried that it would be lame, but it actually turned out to be really fun.  The "raft" was about seven bamboo poles tied together, and was about 35 feet long.  It was amazing to see how deftly the guide could maneuver the raft, and we went through some nice little rapids and past lovely scenery.  I think Christopher, having almost drowned on our last rafting adventure, appreciated how the raft couldn't take on water, since it just slipped between the poles, and cruised easily over rocks that would have stuck a normal raft.  It was a really cool local experience.  That night, we had dinner at a Middle Eastern place run by an Israeli lady, which satisfied my hummus craving, before checking out the night bazaar.  The bazaar was insane- more shops than I have ever seen together in my life, selling everything from purses with embroidered elephants to knock off Ray Bans to hand-carved pipes.  It was actually so overwhelming that we didn't end up buying anything!  

Today, sadly, we will be heading out of Chiang Mai.  We will catch a bus to Chiang Rai, then another to Chiang Khong, and cross the border into Laos where we'll spend the night in Huay Xai.  After that we'll catch a boat to Pakbeng, spend the night there, then take another boat to Luang Prabang.  I'm just spelling all this out now for those jumpy Americans who might worry if they don't hear from us.  We'll be traveling for basically the next three (count em!) days, and I'm not sure what internet access will be like, but expect another update from the UNESCO world heritage site of Luang Prabang!

Tags: chiang mai, laos, on the road, thailand



Caitlin, please buy me a shirt that says "My Daughter Went to Luang Prabang and All I Got Was this Laosy T-Shirt".

  Jumpy American May 20, 2009 9:56 PM


Enjoying your journal of fantastic, exotic experiences.
Savor it all.


  PAPA May 22, 2009 5:23 AM


Greetings from Rome.

The first comment on this blog post = hilarious.

What an eventful day you had. Elephants are, how do you say, pretty sweet. Glad to hear you guys are having a great time. Stay safe.

  Korea May 22, 2009 6:40 AM


ollyphants, ollyphants! i'm jealous. glad you survived the rafting. :)

  Korea 2 May 27, 2009 1:28 AM

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