Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Northern Thailand

Been a long 4 days since i posted. I spent Sunday exploring some of the temples here around Chiang Mai. Went up to a temple on top of a mountain which is supposed to have a great view but because there are forest fires all around here I couldn't see anything but smoke.

There is the temple, it's pretty nice even without the view.

Sunday Night I went to the big weekly night market here and it was huge. It was maybe a mile long, they closed down one of the main streets and the market just stretched out forever. Didn't buy anything but was fun to browse around.

Then Monday I went on a 3 day jungle trek organized through the hostel I was staying at. About $30 a day, 12 of us took a pickup up to near the Burma Border then hiked to the hill tribe villages. The hikes were more intense than I expected, but was good to get me in shape. The biggest problem was the smoke, all the forest fires made visibility terrible. We were in what seemed to be really beautiful mountains, but couldn't see more than 100yds away most of the time. After a long hike we made it to a nice waterfall. Right after that picture i got stung by a bee on my back, but it wasn't too painful, got the stinger out really fast.

From there we went to a hill tribe village for the night. We slept in a hut there and played with all the little kids in the village. Next day we hiked for 4 hours then went bamboo rafting down the river. I started to get sick around lunch time, not sure if it was from the food or the smoke, but about 6 of the 12 people on our trip got sick. I couldn't eat lunch and threw up twice right before going on the raft. Sat on the raft and enjoyed the ride for the most part...threw up only once...but between fits of vomitous fury i felt ok.

Most of the areas we hiked through were recently burnt, but we only really saw a couple fires. I didn't eat dinner that night, just tried to keep down the water i drank. Woke up this morning feeling a lot better. We went to a cave then went on an elephant ride for an hour before returning to our hostel. I was told by the hostel manager that they burn the forests to try to get it to rain...there is a mushroom that grows after the rains that is valuable to pick. But this year it was especially dry, no rain and the fires are the worst they've been in over 9 years. Mostly small brush fires...but there are hundreds of them.

Overall the trek was good, even with the smoke. Met a lot of interesting people, the group was from all over the world, israel, canada, argentina, holland, US, and germany. By the end everyone was friends. I'm quickly collecting e-mail addresses to have places to crash at all over the world :)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like your having a great time......Wish I could be with you!!

March 14, 2007 1:42 PM  

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