Hungry Hungry Elephant?
This is one of the elephants we rode during our trek. He (and we are SURE he was a man) got hungry and ended up breaking the whole tree off for a snack.
If you are completely unoriginal you do two things in Chiang Mai; northern Thailand's gorgeous capital, go on a Trek to the mountains and hill tribes and take a cooking class. Upon checking into our guest house, we set off on a fat man's quest on the Sunday 'walking fair' Chiang Mai's equivalent of Walmart outdoors, low low prices and stuff you really don't need. But the 'food court' kicks ass, Jon and I set off on a mission, see how far 10 dollars will get us on food we mostly haven't tried. Turns out 10 bucks is more than enough to give two guys enormous stomach aches. Meat on Stick, Spicy fish ball soup, Sam tom twice, noodle spring rolls, fried corn donut things, fried chicken and ?, mushroom eggs cooked in banana leaf and a bag of green chilies I ate plain and will never do again.
The was a little confusion as to who our Thai guide would be, Rooney - prone to singing romantic pop ballads, screaming like Ruby Rhod from The 5th element, and yes, professing his unending love of 'American Men.' The other guy was named Pumpkin, despite the name, all accounts a completely normal
thank you, storm of doom
We hit a minor snag on the way to our hike after the elephant riding. Super hail/wind/rain storm of doom decided to fell a tree into the way. Luckily, several of the Thais had machetes handy.
guide, knowledgeable about flora and fauna, knows not to take breaks on the top of a hill during a lightning storm and certainly isn't going to throw on a wig and tell you the romantic story of Cinderella.
We set off a little confused about which American man should sleep with one eye open Jon, Brian or myself. First stop, Elephants. Elephant rides aren't as cool as they look, if you don't have a sore back and ass give it a shot, you will. To get to the start of the trail we needed to climb up a mountain pass for the better part of two hours; 8 eight people in the back of a two wheel drive truck. Then the rain came, honestly, the first time I've been cold in a month and a half. As the photo shows we hit a bit of a road block, a large pine crashed in the road and two Thais with machetes were swinging away. Between moving the tree and a three hour hike with soggy bottoms we hit the first village an hour before dark. Rooney carried our food, it was quite a site, a large basket with backpack straps filled
our fearless leader-ess
Isn't he, er she, er he, lovely? isn't he/she/he/she a pearl? This is Rooney, our trek leader.
with all kinds of veggies, noodles, eggs and bags of dangling bread to go with his green hat and matching flip flops. He looked as manly as he was going to get. After dinner the villagers came to sell us stuff, after the last plate was cleared, whoosh, 10 women out of nowhere dressed full on in traditional garb and savvy sales techniques. This was followed by songs from the village kids, ya, we got Thai songs that we didn't understand but they also sang Jingle Bells too. The night isn't complete without a Madonna or Britney Spears song from Rooney to put us to bed. Bamboo rafting follow the next day, about a dozen bamboo trees, 20 feet long tied together for a one way trip down the river, two rafts, 6 people on each. Didn't take long for Rooney to start screaming, I tried to crush him with a water balloon we had left over from the gifts for the kids but I missed and hit the Canadian instead, almost as good. For 3 hours we tried to sabotage each others rafts, getting soaked until we saw all the water buffaloes peeing in the water and remembered the
Standard Hill Tribe Home
Rooney led us to the first Hill Tribe village.
stories of all the parasites. Used an entire bar of soap for my bath. More of the same in the night, we were struggling to stay up past 11, its hard when there is no artificial light, but Rooney did pull out the wig for his nightly performance. The following day was good for a huge cave tour, at least 10000 bats were in the cave complex, bat guana smells strangley like barbeque. This was my fifth cave, I'm mad I never made it down to Carlsbad Cave in New Mexico, road trip when I get home. After getting home we decided to go out for drinks and karaoke, six of us piled into a tuk tuk with two guys hanging off the back on the bumper. Halfway to our destination our weight causes a tire to blow out - a three wheel golf cart type machine blowing a tire with 7 people in it could be the end of the night but our driver was an expert, no harm done. After having a few drinks in a nice restaurant on the river we hailed a cab to a karaoke bar, we instead ended up in, I cant explain it,
Rapunsel let down your hair?
Actually, Rooney began his production of Cinderella. You can see everyone from our trekking team. counterclockwise from lower left. Brian, Tom (Alexis Forman lookalike), Andy (British Eric Henzel), Brian (NYC superstar), Cinderella, Frida (from Norway), Steen? (aka Ivan Drago), jon
a two story cabaret theater where 40 Thai girls dressed in oddly made costumes line dancing badly on stage. "What the Hell am I doing here" was repeated by all six of us, I can only guess that the tuk tuk drive got a commission for taking us there.
Tot: 3.289s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 18; qc: 107; dbt: 0.0603s; 3; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb