After we laughed with relief at making our flight off Phuket, we had a look at our trusty guide book to find a guest house in Chiang Mai, a town in the north of Thailand, and our next destination. We decided on what looked like a winner, cheap and comfortable with internet and a restaurant. Until we got there and it was closed....since it was nearly 11 at night we weren't being to picky and just went to the next cheap, open place we could find. Apparently it was a place filled with elephants that liked to wake up irritatingly early.
After not too much sleep (because you must never have TOO much sleep....hmmmm) we left the noisy place and went back to our first choice. Then we went to book an overnight trek for the following day and to find trekking shoes, which suddenly seemed like a very important addition to our backpacks.
At 10 the next morning we were picked up and met our trekking buddies which included a father and daughter from Barcelona, a girl from London, a guy who was Canadian but was living in Afghanistan as he served in the army and two German boys who had that odd German way about them. After driving for a while and stopping occasionally at places that gave us opportunities to buy things, we had some fried rice for lunch and then set off on our trek for the day. Our trek for the day involved walking to the top of a really, really big hill where we would sleep for the night in bamboo huts, but it turned out the Germans thought it was a race up the mountain and charged off ahead leaving me to wonder if I was indeed an obese couch potato. Apparently not though, they just wanted to prove themselves. But the exercise was worth it in the end...
We hung out in the little village on the mountain for the rest of the evening and after dinner when we all realised we had no playing cards and there was no TV our guide showed us riddles he made with toothpicks and none of us solved any of them. Then he sung acoustic Thai songs to us with his guitar and when he offered his guitar around nobody else could play it. Then we realised we were probably the worst group ever.
The next day we set off down the moutain at a leisurely 10am. It was far far easier than climbing it, though a challenge presented itself in trying not to slip down the near vertical sections of slippery mud we were walking down. We got to the bottom and found our elephant friends who were going to take us for a walk around the river.
Then we rafted in the river. That was my favourite thing to do. After we had rafted a little (but not too much because I think the wet season makes the river too dangerous in some sections) we did some bridge jumping and then we were back on the road to Chiang Mai.
We had a bit more of a poke around Chiang Mai then we caught the bus to Chiang Rai, further north and nearer the border crossing into Laos. Nothing remarkable happened in Chiang Rai...it's a nice little town and there was a monsoonal thunder storm while we were snuggled up cosily in our $5 a night guest house. This is how we entertained ourselves.
And I think I might leave you all to ponder that...