A Travellerspoint blog

March 2008

Trekking in Chang Mai

Elephants, Hiking, Swimming in waterfalls, Rafting.

Nate: After the beaches we stopped off in Bangkok briefly, and then took a bus headed north to Chang Mai (12 Hours). Our shuttle from the bus stop dropped us off at a great hotel with a pool and for the first time on our trip we indulged in this most awsome of indulgences. While we were checking in, a rather swave talking buisnessman sold us on a jungle trek that left the next morning. We didn't mind because we had planned on visiting the remote jungle villages anyway.
n546780164_2658343_8846.jpg
This sweet little girl was one of the children that had sung for us the previous evening and was both shy and facsinated with one of our friends card tricks.
n546780164_2658340_3998.jpg

Our journey began with an hour long elephant trek up steep hills. It was really cool to take turns sitting just behind the elephants head with our legs tucked just behind it's ears.

n546780164_2658332_6008.jpg

The elephant behind us apparently had a cold because it kept spraying it's riders with buckets of elephant snot! (In reality the elephant sprays it's ears to help cool itself, but getting sneezed on sounds way better.) This is a pic of our friends just after they have been sprayed.
n546780164_2658331_623.jpg

Each day we had a short but largely uphill hike, and in the evenings we ate wonderful meals under traditional bamboo, thatched roof houses. The second day we visited a "waterfall". I have come to the conclusion that many places we have visited are lacking in the two main ingredients that make for waterfalls of stunning proportions (at least on a regular basis). Alot of rain, and high mountains, both of which we have in abundance back home. So more than once now we have looked forward to the waterfall part of the tour, and then had to make the best of it and enjoy.
n546780164_2658345_3565.jpg

n546780164_2658342_5611.jpg
On the last day we hiked for 2 hours and then came to a small creek and by far the best part of the trek. This stage involved jumping on a makeshift bamboo raft and navigating the creek back to civilization using only our wits and long bamboo poles.
n546780164_2658350_4506.jpg
The rafts proved to be a little less than sea worthy, and more than once we found ourselves careening into either eachother or the banks of the creek. In a feirce competion to be the winner of an imaginary race down the river, Jocelyn pushed me off my raft into the river and still failed to take the lead. She was a worthy opponent truth be told, and the only girl willing (or able) to captain and negotiate the snaking turns. Pitting ourselves against each other resulted in us arriving at the dock completely spent. - Nate

n546780164_2658353_5505.jpg

Jocelyn: When we got back to Chaing Mai, I took a Thai cooking course and learned how to make a bunch of my favorite Thai dishes.
n546780164_2658352_3912.jpg

We got to go into the local market and learn about about all the weird and wacky ingrediants that the Thai people use is their marvelous food. After I had gathered our supplies I learned how to make spring rolls, currey paste, massaman currey, pad Thai, and sweet stiky rice with mangos. Making the currey paste was by far the most difficult and exausting. I have gained a lasting appreciation for the work that goes into Thai cusine. - Jocelyn

We did a bit of site seeing around town and this temple was by far my favorite.
n546780164_2658329_4271.jpg

These are the neat bungalows that we stayed in.
n546780164_2658324_5780.jpg

Posted by Seaurchins 22:38 Comments (2)

Spending the day with Tigers

sunny

A couple weeks ago when we were still in India we saw the most amazing picture of a women sitting with a full grown tiger. At first we thought the picture must have been digitally altered, because everyone in the internet cafe was staring in shock at what looked impossible. Apparently not. Yesterday we went to that tiger temple in a small village outside Bankok. Years ago some villagers found an abandoned baby tiger and brought it to the monks to raise. Over the years the monastary has become an animal refuge and they now have over twenty tigers. They allow visitors to visit the temple for two hours in the afternoon when the tigers are napping. We had some pictures taken with the cats and then we just spent some time watching the three month old babies napping. Luckily for us, one of the staff at the temple approached us and invited us to come back the following day to experience some one on one interaction with the cats while they were awake. Off the hundreds of people that came through that day they only selected five people to come back the next morning. It was an offer we couldn't refuse so we rented a scooter and woke up at 6:00am the next morning for the long drive. When we arrived we saw saw three week old cubs and spent over half an hour playing with some older cubs in their cage. It was amazing!

n754520633_2567822_2117.jpg
n754520633_2567819_7502.jpg
n754520633_2567821_1623.jpg
n754520633_2567816_8940.jpg

Afterwards,we walked the nine month old tigers from their enclosures to the canyon where they let them loose to play. If you think walking a big dog is challenging, try walking a predator like this. There are so many things to think about. You have to keep your legs behind the tigers shoulder and you can't let the tiger get too close to somone's back. If they do get too close they jump on that persons back and instictivey go for the neck. It happend at least once while we were walking down, but the guy didn't get hurt. It's a crazy feeling to walk so close to such a huge predator, knowing full well that it could kill you.

n754520633_2567823_2745.jpg

Once we were down in the canyon, all the tigers were let off their leashes. They played at full force for over an hour while we stoof only feet away. Once awhile they would run full speed towards us only to stop inches away. A couple of times they tried to bolt out of the canyon, but the tiger handlers were really quick and caught them. It was quite an adrenalin rush to watch.

n754520633_2567830_5566.jpg
n754520633_2567828_4820.jpg

After the tigers had spent themselves pouncing on eachother and destroying basketballs and soccer balls we walked them over to their enclosure and gave them a bath. In the midst of getting soaked and trying to stay away from the sharp end of the tiger we forgot to take pictures.

This is my favorite tiger. He was really gentle and playful.
n754520633_2567831_5994.jpg
n754520633_2567836_8101.jpg

This is Nathaniel's favorite picture. He has a tiger by the tail!!!
n754520633_2567837_8608.jpg
n754520633_2567832_6477.jpg

Later that afternoon we went to cool off in some waterfalls.

n754520633_2567838_9064.jpg
This was the second pool of seven pools that poured into eachother.
n754520633_2567843_1405.jpg
The river was full of fish and then nibbled on us whenever we stood still. It was a little weird.
n754520633_2567839_9507.jpg

Ahh, some much anticipated street food at the end of a long, but great day.
n754520633_2567813_7879.jpg

P.S. Loretta, if you read this message, please send me your address. I have lots of postcards for you. - love Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 17:53 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Finally some pictures

sunny

P1030762__Medium_.jpg

n546780164_2544612_5561.jpg
Jocelyn: So we are back in Bangkok and we are brown as nuts. Although we loved Koh Tao ( our little slice of Thai paradise), we realized that there is still so much in this country that we haven't yet explored. We have certainly had our fill of snorkling, tanning, hiking, and eating delicious food. . Speaking of food - I could almost spend an entire day snacking away on barbeque corn, coconut curries, skewered seafood, fresh sqeezed orange juice, ice cream, pad thai, fried noodles, and fresh gauva and pineapple. Everything we eat looks like a piece of art, even if we buy it from a road side vendor. The fruit is cut into intricate swirls and always deliciously cold. I am so used to eating warm, mushy sketchy food that I have had to rub vigorously with my clothing before I eat it.
n546780164_2544624_6215.jpg
Nathaniel has been devoring meat and often orders two meals everytime he sits down to eat. I must admit that I have been enjoying eating meat again as well, as I had decided to be vegetarian while we were in India. Riding around the island on our scooter was fun, although it certainly wasn't cut out for what we put it throught. At least we didn't crash the thing. We saw numerous tourists with bandages around their legs, feet and arms. I heard that in Thiland road rash from a scooter crash is called a Thai Tattoo.

This is the place we called home for about a week.
n546780164_2544609_4436.jpg
It was lush, beauitful and at night the geckos serenaded us with their barking and chirping. Here is a picture of one of the geckos Nathaniel caught one night while we were having dinner.
n546780164_2544611_5212.jpg
Nate: While we were on Koh Tao we had planned on doing some Scuba diving, as it is supposed to be really good. While we were there the visibility wasn't great and after a week of pretty decent snorkeling I decided to forgo the diving and took a Free-Diving course instead (free-diving is like diving except without tanks, you hold your breath!). I have been snorkeling for years and have been pushing my limits, sometimes with bad techniques and nieve ideas. It was really great, I learned alot about proper breath holding and a lot of exersices that should make a big difference for me in the future. On the last day I went to 26 meters without fins! Thats about 78 feet. I'm still a far cry from the world record at the moment of 214 meters, which I think is insanity!!!
n546780164_2544627_9956.jpg
Jocelyn: I am proud to announce that I have officially swam with sharks, black tipped reef sharks to be exact. Nathaniel estimates that they were about about 7 feet long, which I think is big enough for me. I was a little nervous when we first spotted them, as we were only about 5 meters above them, but my nervousness quickly turned to curiosity and I excitedly followed one of the sharks for about five minutes. The whole atmosphere was more freaky than the actual shark. It looked like a coral graveyard and everything was an errie green color.
n546780164_2544631_2054.jpg
One night Nathaniel and I dressed up like pirates for a local party, but because we were so tired from snorkling all day we fell asleep before the party even started... parties don't get going till around 2:00am in the morning and we only lasted till 11:00.
n546780164_2544615_6317.jpg
The night scene on Koh Tao was something else. Every night the beach became a resturant complete with torches, cushions, palm trees and fire dancers. In town we were baraged by very colorful men dressed as women inviting us to their cabaret show.
n546780164_2544626_9583.jpg
This beautiful little parrot and I became inseperable for a couple of days. He would fly onto my shoulder from whatever tree he was sitting in and I would share my fruit with him. He was a great walking companion on the beaches in the evening.
n546780164_2544621_8087.jpg
I love these colorful boats moored around the bay.
n546780164_2544622_4631.jpg
n546780164_2544625_9214.jpg
These are Thai fishing boats. I love the slanted cabins on them.
n546780164_2544629_1148.jpg
What friendly fish they have in thier ponds
n546780164_2544630_1573.jpg

Posted by Seaurchins 08:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

I LOVE THAILAND

We're on a bitty little Island "Koh Tao"

We have found Paradise. If I was tired of travelling before I am not now. It feels like we're back on vacation, and not some morbid death wish. Me and Joce keep saying things to each other like, "we could stay here for a month....". There are still soo many amazing places and things we want to see before our trip ends, But it is hard to amagine it getting better than this. It is a hilly tropical island about 7 Kms across, you can walk just about anywhere you need to be. We were going to rent 2 bicicles for $3.50 a day, but then found out that a motor scooter is only $5.00. So now I am motorized again....waahaaahaa.
n546780164_2544614_5928.jpg
Don't I look cool! how do you like my basket?, the bag is very stylish as well...hahaha....ha....hmmmmmm
n546780164_2544617_6762.jpg
We made our way over to a beach on the east side of the island today and found some great snorkeling, sun tanning, cliff diving..... Lots of fun. I even found a japanese glass ball on the beach, the cylinder type!
n546780164_2544619_7362.jpg
On the way back to our hotel the road was really steep, I had to push with my legs to get the underpowered thing up the hill while Jocelyn clung to my back and giggled. We have been lamenting about our pale pastie skin for awhile as it has been some time since we were at a beach, but a few more days here an we'll be back to our golden brown. We keep bumping into Canadians here who inform us of the deplorable weather conditions back home, we feel for you ... we really do. It would be sooo much fun to have our friends and family here with us, but that is unlikely, so we will try to get some really good pictures instead.

It's hard to belive that there are only about 2 months left for us. We have started to try planning our weeks better so we make it to the places we have outlined. Once we leave this island things may get quite busy with travelling. I has been nice to unpack our bags here for a few days and get some good sleep. Tomorow we will be exploring and taking pictures so there should be some good shots along soon, Laters... Nate and Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 05:10 Comments (3)

Thailand

Ah some civilization...

sunny

Before we left Tanzania we had purchased an open ticket from which we were told we could use when we were ready to fly from India to Bankok. When we went to the airlines to pick a day to fly they told us they were booked for a month solid and that it would be at least a week before they could put us on a waiting list. Needless to say, we scrapped the ticket, applied for a refund and bought a new ticket online. We made this decision at 4:30 and we were on a plane bound for Bankok by 11:30 that night. Talk about flying by the seat of our pants. While aboard the plane I was telling Nathaniel how glad I was that I had survived India without getting food poisoning. Ironically, I spent the majority of the next day throwing up in our Thai hotel. Somewhere between between the airport in India and checking into our hotel I injested something that my "tank-like" stomach despised. Truthly, I have been incredibly healthy throughout our trip while Nathaniel has been sick on a frequent basis. I guess the tables have turned.

Thailand, is a breath of fresh air. Nathaniel keeps telling me how civilized it is. Th airport itself is an architectual wonder. After being here for one day we have realized how de-sensitized we became in India. On the bus from the airport we almost felt like we were at home as we gazed longingly around at the organized highways, and the trees... and then we looked out the left window and noticed a baby elephant foraging in a marsh. So Cool !!!!

Anyways, we are headed to the southern part of Thailand in the next day or so. We have heard that it is possible to swim with whale sharks there. We will dowload some cool pictures when we have some.
-Jocelyn Lord

Posted by Seaurchins 02:46 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]