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Published: August 6th 2008
It wouldn't be right to fill you in on all the exciting stuff and shelter you from the nitty gritty day to day things. So, let this serve as your warning for what you are about to read. I'm completely prepared to keep it clean, but I'm only on paragraph one.
I vaguely remember writing in the last blog how we were taking a short three hour bus ride to a northwest village of Pai. The bus picked us up, packed with people in a Mercedes minivan, we started out like any other ride: well fed, water in hand, iPods ready. It was approximately one hour later I found myself laying on the side of the road, begging Christina to just walk the mountain and NOT get back into the van. Vomiting, tears, pleas of help, nope- there was no other way. I've never seen mountains before. So I saw one and thought, not so bad, not realizing the mountains overlap in an entire sea of mountains. Around we went, up and down like a corkscrew, looking into the mountains then looking down from above. At one point we could look down from both sides, meaning we were on the
tip top of this mountain. The lovely woman next to me clearly umcomforatble as I rode the rest of the two hours with one hand over my mouth and the other holding on to the strap (no seat belts exist over here).
When we arrived in Pai, surrounded my mountains, it was a relief to find out Macaela was also on the edge of her seat, taking all her effort to not voice her concerns about our driver's driving. We may as well have been on that bus for the entire day because we were literally like the walking dead, backpacks on, trying to find a place, bugs already biting away at new blood. One place was literally a place that looked like it did not need ANY tools to be built, just pieces resting against pieces. After 4 places, happy to find a room that would accept 4 occupants, we settled in to Mr Jan's Guest House. It was okay, but my eye starring contest with our wall geko prevented any real enjoyment as we worked hurrily to string up in our bug nets for the 6th night staight. Macaela, Courtney and I are becoming excellent bug net
hangers. Christina on the other hand, well, she ends up okay in the end. It's funny how all the skills I was born with (jumping over fences, climbing things, hanging bug nets) rarely come in handy, yet still good to have on the back burner in case of a real emergency.
Next on the agenda, how can we get out of Pai without going through the mountains. We all even hoped for a train, a raft, hell I'd even get back on that elephant if it was going my way. There was the option of flying, but the plane was literally smaller than the internet cafe I am sitting in and no way all four of us could get on at once, so not wasting any time, we booked the bus for the following day. Don't get me wrong, Pai is this little hippy village resting in the valley of the mountains. It reminds me of Rockport, MA, minus the ocean. But all the stuff to do there we did in Chiang Mai and the car driving around with the speaker informing us of malaria and dengue fever really made us want to head back south. Our bus left
at 3PM, so we had most of the day free. We booked a weaving class, seeing as how the Batik painting was so successful. Needless to say, after weaving everything by hand after 5 hours and only having 5 inches of my 40 inch belt, I called it quits. I now have a very colorful bookmark that I swear to God will be in every book I read from now until the day I die. Although my students will become expert Batik painters, they are on their own for any weaving projects. And I thought the Lowell Mills Girls had it tough. At least they had a wooden machine! We were strapped to the wall, sitting on the floor from 9-3.
And so here I am, back in Chiang Mai for the night. We head back to Bangkok tomorrow, a 12 hour bus ride. We then have another 4 hour bus ride south towards the islands, were we will be spending the last weeks of our trip, maybe joined by our friend Eric.
Good night! I'll be thinking of you as I wake at my usual 1-4AM time with sweats and a racing heart. Can't remember the last
time I slept. The place we are at tonight has pillows and we DON"T have to hang our bug nets...but I may let Christina hang hers, for practice. I responded to some comments so take a look if you sent me a message.
With highest regards,
Mountain Hater Howell (MH2 for short)
PS I actually left out the disgusting parts. Who needs to know that 50% of our group has not gone to the bathroom for almost 4 weeks?
PSS Put your minds at ease, weight loss is not a concern. We were dropping a few in Cambodia because all we ate was rice. Thailand is another story. It's a booming country with just as much western food as home. My belly now continues to shake for several seconds after I stop moving.
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