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Published: December 31st 2007
Yesterday was my day off and myself and 3 of the other girls I'm traveling with decided to head to the National Park for the sunrise. The driver that was arranged to take us spoke no English just Thai and no one had ever worked with before but somehow came highly recommended. Under normal circumstances that would seem pretty fishy I'm sure.
So we get to the national park and the driver pulls over and looks at me and says something in Thai. Having no clue what he said I just stay put until he comes and gets me again so that I can pay the entrance fee. While climbing up to the top of the mountain, we had to cross 3 brooks and up a pretty steep hill. We then hit a traffic jam where we couldn't get up the mountain for something like 30 minutes. So we missed the sunrise unless you count looking up thru the forest canopy and seeing the sky turn from black to light blue as witnessing the sunrise.
Once we get to the top our driver tells us to get out and go up to the viewing point. We walk up there and look around there are nothing but Thai people and we are the only Westerners. So the view point was really neat it was overlooking the Sea of Fog, which is caused by the lush canopy of the rainforest that releases so much moisture that this fog forms. It was great. We ended up going to 3 viewpoints total and our driver frustrated that we trying to speak to him found some people that spoke English to help us.
We ended up meeting this group of people that invited us to go on a hike and offered us food and drinks so extremely friendly that as a person from the US you wonder what do they want. On our way down the mountain, our driver pulls over and we see these people again getting ready for the hike. They give us water and we start a hike not really knowing where we're going but the person that was leading was a very outdoorsy friendly tour guide from Thailand. Some of the people spoke English so it made it less frightening but the thought did occur to us that we were being left in the jungle armed with a leatherman, granola bars, and a Thai phrase book.
The hike was beautiful. We saw a trail that an elephant had made so it was kind of intimidating to see how much damage they can do. We saw some trees moving where a languar had jumped around. After that part of our hike we got to campground and our being typical Americans sat down and started to chow down on the snacks we had brought but one of the ladies from the group invited us to go on an adventure boat! Then the tour guide came and invited us again on the boat and cut us up an apple. As we agreed to join the group, they cheered in excitement.
So after a quick vote we were in the back of a pick-up truck speeding thru Thailand heading to some place that we were not sure of Cambodia, Laos, or back to Bangkok. It was scary speeding around corners and turns in the BACK of a pick-up truck! I'm thinking the whole time-how incredibly stupid am I. We arrive at the adventure boat spot and its these thatched little huts with bamboo floors elevated from the ground that you have to sit indian style on. There is a small center table. The guide knowing we don't know Thai came and helped us order food some sort of Chicken part soup including feet, spleen, head and a shrimp noodle casserole. Since my stomach has been not agreeing with me I passed on that meal-thankfully.
The lady that invited us to join them paid for our meal because we reminded her of different people. So its time for the ADVENTURE BOAT! Its really just rafting in a very slow and lazy river where the Thai people were floating in tubes or ziplining down into the river and splashing us foreigners. It was so incredibly amazing that these people that we had never met invited us to join their tour and spend the day with them so willingly. They took pictures of us and claim they will send it to us via e-mail. No where else in the world will we experience something like that.
After getting back to the center, I spent the next 12 hours sleeping because I was exhausted. My day off was great and it goes to show that sometimes having a little faith can take you to unexpected places. The funniest part of the whole thing was that we were only 30 minutes from the center. I'm enjoying my time but I'm ready to have clean clothes and food that doesn't make me want to vomit when I smell it.
I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and I will talk to you all very soon.
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