When I as planning my trip I didn’t realize that diving in the Andaman Sea basically ends in late April, because it’s the start of the monsoon season. So I’ve had to rearrange my plans a bit. I’m going down to Khao Lak, north of Phuket, on Monday (flying direct from Chiang Mai – yeah!) to go on a liveaboard for 4 days. I’m hoping to finish off my Advanced Open Water certification on the trip as well. After the trip I’m going to head back up to Bangkok to catch a later flight to Myanmar: now I’ll be there April 29-May 20. I have no idea what the internet connectivity situation will be there, so if you want to tell me anything, tell me before the 29th!
The good news with this change in schedule is that Marjan has changed *her* plans and is coming with me! It’ll be easier and cheaper – and, frankly, safer – to have a travel buddy, so I’m psyched.
Another interesting bit of news is that Howie wrote to say that he’s got a friend in Pai, so I’m trying to get in touch with him. Never underestimate the power of local knowledge.
Anyway, let me finish up the talk of the trek and talk about what I’ve been doing here in Pai. We woke up early the next morning, had some breakfast, and set off – up a 45-degree incline once again. Good morning! I admit that Greg took my pack again until things evened out. Egads. So after about an hour or so we arrived at a place for elephant riding. Now, I’m not a big fan of riding animals as tourism, but it was part of the deal. It was OK – I think the elephants were treated well, and the ride was fun. I even bravely agreed to get off the platform saddle thing and ride on his neck/back for a while….until the bristly hairs on his neck were too much for my thighs (damned shorts!). After about 90 minutes we arrived at our final adventure: bamboo rafts down the river. I have to say, this was my favorite part of the whole thing. Boom and Greg manned the bamboo poles that steered us, and Roberta, Allison and I just lounged in the sun and splashed our feet in the water. Ahhh.
At the end of the raft trip, we jumped back into our Saangtaw and rode back to Chiang Mai. When we arrived in the city, the traffic was so bad that we had to take our bags and make a run for it across the moat and down an alley to escape the water-throwers on our way back to Eagle House.
That night (Tuesday) I slept like a log…and then woke up at 6:30 am, in time to pack and meet Marjan at the bus station for the 9 am bus here, to Pai.
Well, the electricity here just went out (it does that occasionally) and then came back on. We’ve decided to give up on the internet and go have a bite. More tomorrow!