Lambei, the Worst Rafters, and a Crazy Dog Story
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 33 of 121 › view all entries
Unfortunately Natty had to leave today. The trouble in Bangkok appeared to have grown and her family were having problems. I felt so sorry for her; she’d been on the phone a lot, but still made a lot of effort for everyone to get to and have a great time in Chiang Mai, it was a shame. Despite all of this she still spent the day with Jay and showed him around the city (he wasn’t feeling great and so left the trekking out), which I thought was a kind gesture.
So, with an early start (7:15am), myself and Lori wearily traversed the city to Taphai Gate to meet up with everyone else. We were picked up and driven about an hour and a half to where the elephants were and the start of our day. We climbed on top of Lambei (our very chauvinistic male elephant) and purchased a small bunch of bananas to feed the greedy beast with. Immediately his trunk flicked backwards with expectation, but seen as he hadn’t taken us anywhere, he would have to wait. The elephant won the battle of wits, got his banana and we set off.
The trek follows a pathway around the river
side and up a pretty steep hill. Looking
downwards we were questioning how the hell a huge elephant would get up the
path. Without any hesitation, Lambei
plodded on steadily, though our confidence was at a low point with his arduous
What goes up of course must come down, so uncomfortably thrust forward, Lambei got us to the river and took another unscheduled break to quench his thirst. Rudely, he cooled himself off and squirted his body, which of course meant our legs, before carrying on in is own time – the selfish bastard!
Traversing the river and trekking back upstream on the opposite bank, the elephant got us back to the start point. Well, almost back to the start point. Our guy was obviously the dominant male and wanted all the tourists to know the pecking order. He had overtaken some of the other mammals to claim the top spot, but decided to cut the trip short (I think as we’d just about ran out of bananas, he might have sought a revenge of some description). He just stopped and let all the other elephants pass him by. We had to climb off at the wrong side of the bay, and so with the last of our bananas we fed another opportunistic elephant as Lambei decided to ignore us. I do hope he ends up as tiger fodder.
Next up was a trek to the waterfall. The guide was pretty knowledgeable and pointed out all different plants on the route up. After an hour or so, the heavens opened and down came the rain again. If anything though, I found this refreshing and for me enhancing of the fun factor. That makes a change for rainy weather!
We all made it to the top in a decent time,
though this was a lot of energy sapping and arduous for some more than
others. A good effort all round
though. By the time we’d got there, the
rain had slowed/stopped and so we could splash around in the plunge pool, safe
in the knowledge we would dry out soon enough.
A noodle lunch and some fruit and sneaky snooze (only to be woken by a dog using my dangling feet as a scrubbing brush!) and it was time to get back into the water and go rafting. The water was a bit shallow, and that meant some hard work in places, but as we had Mark, Ivan, Me, Mike and Aidan all in the same raft, I was confident we had enough man power to tackle anything the river threw at us. Well that winning formula left us stuck at the first hurdle and so after no time at all we were at the back of the pack and in no form to catch up with the rest. Eventually another raft was filled with almost equally as knackered, less call us all ‘passengers’, and we ended in a jostling match for position. This over time ended in a water fight and us conceding last place once again.
Once beyond the rapids, you have a choice to either stay in the raft and row downstream or take the lazy option of the bamboo raft and be floated to the base. We didn’t deserve the rest at all of our exceeding low energy exertion, but needless to say we were the only group who took up the offer. The Thai guide got us all to sit on the raft and we sank it. A few inches below the water, the river’s momentum eventually carried us to the point where everyone else was relaxing and waiting patiently for us losers. We absolutely silent, arses sodden wet, and all pretty pissed off. It was hilarious.
With all that over with, we got driven back to the respective hotels, but agreed to meet up a couple of hours later for some food and maybe a few drinks. Thankfully Jay had perked up a lot after a day off from the water and relaxing around Chiang Mai with Natty.
We’d actually driven past the Night Bazaar
on the way back from the river and so had all agreed to go check that area
After quite a few drinks, we went to check out the Bacardi set up. It turned out to be a free event, with DJ’s doing sets and no tickets were necessary. There was only Bacardi spirits or Breezers on sale though, but that was fine for most of us. After a few drinks the call of nature was on me, but I just couldn’t see where to go. I was directed to the back of the DJ stages (that meant leaving via the front and walking around. There was no toilet there >.< I asked another set of directions and was told by a Thai who clearly not understood the questions and directed me back to the front. Almost running, I got to the front, only to be re-directed to the back again. I could have cried at this point and was beginning to look around for a wall to animalistically mark my territory, but luckily I found a burly security guard who did point me in the right direction and so no auspicious behaviour was necessary *Ah man, that’s so good*. This time I wept a little before returning a relieved man to the group. The others in the group asked for directions to the toilet, and I gave them accurate ones (I hope you were all grateful for those after what I went through to get them!!!).
We were all a bit tired and agreed to leave around 1am. Ivan wasn’t amongst us when we said we’d go when he gets back, but he returned with a round of really strong Bacardi and lemonade for everyone Nooooooooooooooooo. It worked though, we all stayed and got up on one of the platforms for a dance. I think one Thai guy must have been on something as he was giving it everything! It was funny to watch and he clearly took a shine to Colin!
None of us really fancied the after party
and so went back to the hotels. Myself
and Lori had a bit further to walk and so split from the group and started
walking up the main street.