Capsizing

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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WET!

Happy Christmas Eve! I am alive!!!! I am sad to say that I have no pictures of our white water rafting adventure. I wasn’t brave enough to take my camera with us. I am glad I didn’t because we ended up tipping three times. (More details to come)

 

White water rafting was AWESOME. I am so glad that Andrea talked me into it. It is an experience that I will never forget.

 

The tour picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the rafting site. It was around a 2 hour car ride and the last two kilometers were awful. It was a dirt rode that was full of bumps, dips, turns, and bounces with no guard rails to keep the van from falling off the rode.

WET and a bit COLD
I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it but we did. We saw our first elephants on the ride! Oh, they were lovely.

 

At the rafting site we sat down for lunch. They served fried chicken, spring rolls, a salad, and carrot soup. Andrea and I met some girls from the University of Illinois who were working at the elephant sanctuary for three weeks. They told us stories about washing the elephants, cleaning up the elephant pens, and making bricks out of mud. I would love to see if this is a program for college students or if anyone can join.

 

After lunch our rafting adventure started. The guides took us through the commands and safety instructions. They showed us how to paddle, where to sit, how to sit, and how to switch to the left/right side of the raft if we needed to. The water level was down so there were no level four rapids, only level three rapids. The trip was about ten kilometers and the first and the last part were level one and two rapids while the middle part was level three. We got our life jackets, helmets, and moved into groups of our. Andrea and I were paired with a Australia/Thai couple.

 

Our guide was hilarious. He loved to goof around and made us get as wet as possible. He dumped a helmet full of water on me before we even left the dock. This happened at least three more times on the trip. Our guide made sure we understood the commands “all right”, “all left”, “forward paddle”, “backward paddle” and “attack”. Now the attack command came out a couple of times and it was our job to make the people in the raft we were passing as wet as we could. I am pretty sure we were the rowdy raft.

 

The first part of the trip was very calm. It gave us time to enjoy the jungle around us. We didn’t see any animals but we were able to listen to the birds singing and the water as it flowed. We spent the time talking, splashing the other rafts, and practicing for the rapids that were coming up.

 

The second part of the trip had some level two rapids and they were fun. Level two means that there were some bumps and drops but they were easy and there was no big worry about falling out. After we got out of the rapids our guide told everyone to get to the left of the raft. We followed directions and he proceeded to capsize the raft! It was awesome everyone’s faces that “Oh crap!” look to them as we went over. The water was a bit chilly but the sun warmed us up. That was capsize number 1.

 

The third part of the rapids was the most dangerous and had the level three rapids. We were put through our paces and had to shift our weight to one side of the raft a couple of times to make sure we didn’t get stuck on the rocks. The water moved faster and the rapids were larger. We were doing great until we got stuck, going down, between two rocks. Once we got stuck the safety people on the bank started to unravel their ‘life lines’ or a rope to pull us to shore if we fell out. I knew we were in trouble when those came out.

 

Our guide had us all move to the front of the raft to see if the weight would force us free. It didn’t. Our guide took out his life line and attached it to the back of the raft and tried to jimmy it free. As he was doing this, another raft came up behind us and hit us. The men on the shore got the “oh crap!” look on their faces and we capsized!

 

The men on the shore threw us their safety line and I grabbed it. However, I was stuck between the rocks and the raft and I had no way to move. The guy from Australia saw I was struggling a bit and pulled me to the front side of the raft. He then made sure that Andrea was safe. Our guide checked on all of us, got our raft, and started hauling us back into the raft. It was a great time and that was capsize number 2.

 

The last part of the ride was fun. It was a very calm. Our guide asked us if we wanted to play a game called “Black Hawk Down”. He told us how it would work. We would all to move to the front of the raft. Andrea and the guy from Australia had to paddle in opposite direction as fast as they could. This would make us turn in a circle. As we were turning our guide would attach his safety rope to the back of the raft and start pulling it over our heads. Of course, we would capsize. We thought it sounded like fun and said sure! Everything went according to plan until it came time to fall out. Andrea decided she didn’t want to fall out and stayed in the raft. The woman from Thailand ended up landing on my ankle and I got a lovely little bruise that ran along the outer side of my right ankle. We all came up laughing and Andrea was smirking because she stayed dry. (However there is a thing called karma.)

 

On the last rapids before we pulled into shore we were told to get to the center of the raft. Andrea leaned the wrong way and ended up falling out of the raft! I was sitting on the bottom of the raft and I couldn’t see anything aside from her falling out and it took her a while to get back in the boat. As I was on the floor of the raft I couldn’t see her for a couple of second and I was thinking “Oh great! I have to call Andrea’s family and tell them that she floated down the river and wasn’t seen again.” They are going to LOVE ME! I found out the reason it was taking them so long to pull Andrea back in was because she was laughing. Here I am thinking that my friend is floating down to Bangkok and she is sitting in the water laughing.

 

We pulled our boat to shore, grabbed our dry clothes and started to head to the changing rooms. Our guide thought I was becoming to dry and right before I went to changed dumped another helmet full of COLD water on me!

 

Before we left our guide came up to us and asked if Andrea and I wouldn’t mind riding home in a jeep with two of the guys who worked for the rafting place. It was explained that they were heading to the inner city (where Andrea and I were staying) and everyone else was staying the outer city. I started thinking “hmm…is this safe?” but decided it was as we followed the van with the rest of the tour back into Chiang Mai.

 

The car ride back into Chiang Mai was great! One of the guys spoke English very well and had been raised in Chiang Mai. He told us all about Chiang Mai’s history, including the history behind the statue of the Three Kings that we had seen the day before. Turns out that they were the kings of Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and some other nearby city back in ancient times, they had declared a truce between their cities and decided to help each other out when it was needed. The king of Chiang Mai wanted help when he started building his kingdom and he called on the other two kings to help him out. The statue is in honor that that meeting. We learned so much about Chiang Mai’s history.

 

When we arrived back to the hotel we talked about going to the night bazaar but my ankle was looking rather pretty so instead we found a near by internet café and e-mailed our families to let them know we had arrived in Japan safely.

 

Tomorrow we are going to be heading to Sukhothai. Bring on the ruins!!!

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WET!
WET!
WET and a bit COLD
WET and a bit COLD
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes