Day 2 - Elephants and Bamboo rafting - "No wet, no fun. No fun, no baby" :)
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 4 of 46 › view all entries
We had slept the night all in one big hut within the village, so had bedded down on about 10 mattresses scattered around the hut. There wasn't that much space left over between mattresses once everyone was in place. Halfway through the night as Canadian Paul and Aussie James stumbled back from the campfire, they carefully crept in before LOUDly asking 'Is anyone awake ?". Well we are now....still this is what travelling is all about :)
After a 3 hour trek in the morning we had bamboo rafting then elephant riding to look forward to. Again the trek wasn't really too hard, trickiest part was balancing on the edge of the the drainage system we were walking along!
I'd say the highlight of the tour was bamboo rafting down the river, one local guy stands up front and guides the boat, three people sit down and then we took turns standing up at the back pushing the bamboo raft down rapids.
There were so many people lining the riverbanks just drinking and laughing, I suspect we were the entertainment rather than the other way around. I was happy to see many Everton shirts (my favourite football team) along the banks, thanks largely to them being sponsored by Thailand's beer (Beer Chang). Quite often people would also try to climb onboard our raft which made balancing a bit tricky. One lady in a water tube (who had obviously had a few Beer Changs herself) managed to climb completely on to our raft and loved every minute of it! The changing room sign at the end of the river made itself very clear with it's big "No pee pee" sign :) It was good that somewhere along the way an enterprising person was taking photos and then developing them at the end in about 5 minutes, so that was well worth getting :)
The elephant riding was ok, and a life experience, but you really just feel sorry for the elephants.
I decided to cut the trek off a day early since....well everyone else had and it would have just been another night of the 'authentic hilltribe experience', but I'd had enough campfire singing so we headed back to Chiang Mai.
From wherever we ended up it was only an hour drive back in to town, as we dropped people off we arranged to meet up at the Exodus pub which we drove past as we came in to town. We then seemed to loop all over the place dropping people at various hostels, but was pleasantly surprised that after all that the pub was only a 10 minute walk away.
We met up with our group and our guides Tan and Birdie at the Exodus pub. It was interesting that we had to drink beer from paper cups since the election was the following day, and for whatever reason the police can't see you drinking the night before an election. So rather than not serve, they just continue to serve creating the illusion that everyone in the pub is drinking coffees :)
We whiled the night away, playing some pool with Anna (for the record Thais play the two shot rule). Spoke a bit to Tan who really wanted me to chat with his travel agent sister, I think he was hoping for romance to blossom :) I had a chat with Tan about something I'd wondered about, in all my attempts to learn a bit about Thai culture I had learned that it is very bad to touch the head of another person, yet Tan had rested his head on some of the village kids so I wondered why that was ok ? He said that since it was the head of a child it was ok, if it had been an adult they may well punch you :) As the "coffees" flowed everyone got more and more tipsy, and eventually the German girls vanished with a random Yank and Birdie, we suspect that Birdie may have had some connections ;) Somehow stumbled back home, not really sure how given I didn't have a clue where I was, but there you go :)