Monday, January 3, 2011

two thousand and eleven

I had every intention of keeping this blog well maintained. I wanted it to be a record of all that I did and saw while away. I've learned that my happiness is inversely proportionate to how much time I spend on facebook (and blogging) and as such I am not sad that I've been so infrequent in my updates. It's because I've been living my travels instead of documenting them. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm almost thankful I've been slack. Almost.

Bangkok was a gem. I didn't expect to like it. There was so much going on and every corner had something worth exploring. After Nicole left, I met up with Rich, Mark and Jade. We decided to travel to Chiang Mai together. The Thai are very fond of Chiang Mai. Frequently I was asked when I was going there, and for how long. It was a fairly long sleeper bus from Bangkok (10 hours?) and before we'd properly left Bangkok Jade had to get off the bus because he wasn't feeling very well, Mark escorted him to the hospital. Rich and I continued to Chiang Mai, feeling pretty disorientated especially being down two. We recharged in Chiang Mai. I got three massages, two pedicures, two manicures and two facials. It probably cost less than one of any of those back home. A little spoiled.

My favourite part of my time in Chiang Mai was either the Thai cooking course we did (I learned to cook a curry- from scratch! Pad Thai, Tom Yum, Basil Chicken and Mango sticky rice) or the Trek. Our Trek was a three day affair. The first day was a light trek to Jumbo elephant camp. We rode the elephants - which I am still undecided on whether I actually enjoyed it or not; the elephants had to carry us up pretty steep hills, which I can't imagine was too fun for them. And the seats on their back were very uncomfortable. There was a little pond and hammocks which we chilled out by, it was very relaxing. After some drinking, Black Pancake and some camp fire songs, Rich and I went and fed the elephants at midnight. I'm not sure whether we were actually allowed to, but it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Elephants are big. I was literally cuddling one of them, Samantha, around the trunk. She could have done some serious damage to me if she wanted, but I think she was quite happy with the midnight snacks. After exhausting their food supply we sat under the stars (which was so different to in NZ) and counted shooting stars. It was all kinds of amazing.

The second day we had a substantial trek to the top of a hill. A big hill. A massive hill. My red bull concentrate didn't carry me as well as I'd hoped. It was exhausting, but once we'd finally made it we were all pretty proud of ourselves. We were "staying with a hill top tribe" but really it meant we were staying in tourist accommodation on top of a hill near a tribe. Unfortunately we weren't introduced to the tribe and it made things a little awkward. I originally went out with my camera and a group of 6 boys, but found that it was too intimidating to really capture anything worth while. I split from the group and played with the kids. I met this little girl who started jumping when she saw me; so I jumped too. Then whenever we saw each other, we'd both start jumping and giggling. It made no sense, but it was absolutely lovely. It a little heart breaking to see little children playing with fire, in clothes that were painted with dirt. I just wanted to steal them and take them back to NZ.

The third day of the trek was a bit more adventurous. We went on a big walk to a water fall. I excelled in the white water rafting - not so much so in the floating in the river - or the bamboo rafting. It was a bunch of fun but by the end of it we were ready to go back to the hostel and recharge.

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