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Brian Thom’s Travel Diary

Friday, 15 Jun 2007

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

MapThe last 3 days or so were amazing. We are now in Chiang Mai, major city in the north of Thailand. It feels like the trip is on the home stretch drive and for me that's a good thing and I think as well for Andrew.

When we arrived in Vang Vieng, the plan to get here was to go north to Luang something or other and head west, into Thailand, via boat... followed by a bus ride to Chiang Mai. It didn't work out that way because, well, I'm not sure. We found a bus route in Vang Vieng that actually went backwards into Vientianne and then through about 2,000 towns totalling an eternity. It felt like the bus ride would never end and I was starting to become numb from boredom. When we first got on, they played some wonderful music. If you can imagine thousands of screaming babies in a room- that sound- that's exactly what it's like.

Anyways talking about the bus rides is probably getting repetitive. Chiang Mai is a pretty nice place, but typical of a southeast asian city. The weather lately has been real hot and mixed with the diesel smells in the streets when your driving, sometimes it can get a bit much. We met some friends we know from back home, and we will probably spend the rest of our time here with them. Steph Owens is a girl both of us went to high school with and her boyfriend Bryan Edstrom is a guy we went to university with and he's trying to get into the land program there. He is a champion at rock/paper/scissors. It pissed me off actually.

So when we got here to meet them, they had organized a 3 day 2 night trek through the jungles somewhere outside the city. We arrived on the morning of the 12th, met them in the afternoon and proceeded to party with them that night which probably wasn't a bright idea because of the energy required of us in the following days. We went to a bar where the managers and waitresses all flocked around our table because we had a Jenga set out. These people are like professionals with that game. Joy, the manager, would prance around for about 5 minutes before taking her block and putting it on top... she was so cocky it was funny. Well, at first. Then it got annoying when we had to wait around as she did her dance. We were like 'damnit Joy just take the damn block... we get it... your good'.

Moving on, so the first day we walked up a big hill into a national park. A short trek through some dense jungle had us end up at a large waterfall that you could walk underneath. It was this waterfall that the movie the Beach was filmed at (I'm pretty sure..?), and it was quite the experience. We followed this up with some more trekking through jungle, and it began raining. Along the way we passed a hot spring geyser which blew water out at temperatures of 90 degrees or so... they were crazy! Leeches are an interesting creature, you gotta keep your eye out for them, and we were able to manage. Camp was a small village in the middle of this giant jungle park and we saw a fairly large spider hanging out right in the corner. I wasn't a big fan of that because good ol' Stephanie filled our heads with information about spiders and how lethal some of them are. I'm exaggerating, it wasn't that big, but it looked pretty disgusting. I definitely wanted a flamethrower. We were fed great food and this experience was similar to camping but in a big wooden hut.

The next day we hiked some more through the jungle and eventually ended up at an elephant camp where we climbed aboard. Those things never get old, they are just flat out weird creatures. Riding above it was like a trip to the chiropractors because the bench, well, let's just say it isn't like riding in a Lexus. But not that we expected such. They brought us to our next camp and we watched a bunch of Thai guys play soccer volleyball. They invited us to play and we sucked, to be expected, a bunch of Canadians hopping around... but I'm pretty sure my team won (I was on a team against Andrew's and Bryan's).

That night, last night, we played some drinking games with the Thai guide as it was his birthday and he was 29 years young. Pahn was his name and so we called him... wait it may have been just me... but I called him Replay after Pahn da Replay. I don't even know really what that is, I think a song or musician back home, but Bryan said it and I thought it was funny. He was a really nice guy. Replay explained some games which involved taking soot off the bottom of a kettle and rubbing it on your face if yuo screwed up in the game. I lost the game, and therefore was black by the end of the night. It was a great time.

Today we got aboard some rafts and floated down a river. Sometimes there were rapids, and the men were supposed to stand on the back with huge sticks to push away from the sides of rocks or land. Not too much exciting there other than the time Andrew and I got hammered into the water by a couple trees.

Well, that's what happened the last few days. I am getting tired of writing and need a shower so I'm going to wrap this up and its getting mighty long. Will try to remember details that are more interesting and post them later or something. Hope all is well back home.