Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Germans, Monkeys, and on being amphibian.
Right now I am in Friend Guesthouse in Mae Hong Son. It is a very nice place - I have a double bed in my own large very clean teak room overlooking a lake and a temple for the princely sum of 100B a night ($5 New Zealand).
I've just finished a two day whitewater rafting trip with Pai Adventures, before that I did a cooking course in Chiang Mai, and before that was the trekking, which ya'll have heard about already.
The cooking course was fun. There are no real secret techniques or anything that I am now the master of, but I got to eat a bunch of good food and picked up a couple of little thai tricks.
We (Mark and Gabby, Andrew and Becky, and I) then met up later that evening to go to the Third Annual Chiang Mai Yorkshire Pudding Eating Contest. This fine athletic challenge was held in The Pub (imagine an English local magically lifted, locals and all, and dropped into the heart of Thailand's second largest city, and you'll have a fairly good idea of the look and feel of the place). I didn't plan on participating, but the publican convinced me it was a good idea, and even handicapped by the three cooking course meals I ate earlier that day, I managed 11 yorkshire puddings. It was a little strange, going from chicken and cashew nuts or red curry to yorkshire pudding and gravy but they were good yorkshire puds though, and I haven't had one in a while. Plus, it's such an absurd thing to do, it's pretty much mandatory once you're aware of it.
The road from Chiang Mai to Pai is horrible, very windy and hilly (built by the Japanese in WW2 apparantly). But I made it without throwing up (probably because I hadn't had breakfast) and decided to reward myself by renting a mountain bike and slogging round some of the concrete roads around Pai.
The next morning it was rafting, which was just awesome. Loads of kingfishers, one group of monkeys - they look a little like large otters from a distance but have skinny tails. Plenty of rapids with just enough oomph to keep me happy without causing a full scale German tantrum. I swam a lot - I'd rather spend the flat bits - and some of the rapids - in the water than on a raft.
So now I'm in Mae Hong Son. Tomorrow I will probably wander round town, maybe do a tour, then get the bus the next morning to Mae Sariang (the next town round) where I might do another trek before returning to Chiang Mai and getting the bus to bangkok and then the islands for diving.
It's a hard life, as they say (although they are partially right, I'm a little sore from all the paddling so might have to go get a massage and thai massage is a little, hmm, vigourous)