Hi everyone, its coffee time in the Thai Massage Room & Spa and I am ready to reminisce again about times gone by! So now its time to travel back to January 2004!*!*!*!*.
You may recall that I had just met Brendan for the first time and that we had spent a lovely few days together in Bangkok, seeing the local sights and getting to know each other despite our obvious language differences.
After our stay in Bangkok, I had arranged that we would travel to the Khao Yai National Park and stay the first 3 nights in a wooden cabin on the reserve. When we arrived however I saw that the cabin was located in the jungle and the entire surrounding area was open to all of the wild animals including elephants and tigers. I can’t really remember how much it cost us to stay there but I do recall that it was quite expensive. Fortunately I had also organised a private guide to show us around and presumably he would also protect us from the wildlife!
It was so exciting for me too as having a holiday was something that was entirely new to me, as I had never had one before, although I had to keep up the pretence of being an experienced traveller and hiker of course. We walked to many places in the jungle and saw many wonderful animals in the wild such as elephants and monkeys together with beautiful waterfalls with wonderful flowers and mosses.
The Thai Army run the National Park and our guide or should I say our guard!!! carried a huge machete to hack our way through the dense jungle. Regularly the Guide would stop and tell us to be quite while he listened to the sounds of nearby wildlife. At one point, he pointed out a huge pile of elephant poo (yes folks, its time to talk about poo again but at least it’s not Buffalo this time! ) The mountain of poo was still steaming which of course meant that the wild elephant was probably very close to us although it certainly wasn’t constipated! It was really quite scary though.
Fortunately, as it was our wintertime, the season was much cooler at this time of year and this made walking more comfortable although with me being an experienced tracker and guide, the weather didn’t really matter to me!!!
The first beautiful waterfall that we saw was the the 'Haew Suwat' waterfall which is featured in the film ‘The Beach’ where Leonardo DiCaprio and others jumped of a high cliff into the water below. I thought about doing it but decided to give it a miss this time.
We also saw another massive waterfall called ‘Haew Narok' where we stopped at the bottom for a rest. The water below although in places was a raging torrent, it was so clear and we could see hundreds of fish. While we were sitting on the rocks, Brendan leaned over and the copper therapeutic bracelet that he was wearing slipped off his wrist and fell into the water below.
We could see it lying on the rocks although it was impossible to judge how deep the water actually was. I immediately thought that this was my chance to impress him and decided to bravely have a ‘DiCaprio moment’ and plunged, fully dressed into the cold water to try to rescue the less than valuable bracelet. I soon found out just how deep it was when the water came up to my chin and it was freezing! However, I couldn’t give in and I immediately dived to the bottom and recovered his bracelet. When I resurfaced, I proudly handed it over to him while feeling very pleased with myself, albeit it feeling rather cold.
After spending the first 3 days of our holiday staying in the log cabin, it was then time to move on to the next place that I had booked to stay. Still within the National Park, the accommodation that I had arranged was a tent! What I didn’t realise of course that the tent had nothing in it at all other than the plastic ground sheet. If only I had read the small print where it said that we had to provide our own sleeping bags. Se what an experienced traveller and hiker I was!
We were forced to sleep fully dressed on the plastic sheeting on the ground and snuggle up just to keep warm. Now you may think that this was romantic but you must take into account that although it is still fairly warm in Thailand during the winter daytime, at night the temperature can fall to below7 degrees and with no bed covers and while lying on plastic sheeting, I can assure you, that is cold!!!
Despite the less than comfortable accommodation, we spent the rest of our time together in the National Park, just walking and seeing the countryside and wild animals. I really enjoyed the walking and exploring but soon began to suffer again from really sore feet and regularly found myself lagging behind wherever we went...... although I couldn’t admit to that to Brendan!
After our time in the National Park, we then travelled to Koh Chang Island, which is one of the largest Thai islands in the Gulf of Thailand and contains dense, steep jungle. Mu Ko Chang National Park is a preserve with many hiking trails and waterfalls such as Klong Plu, covering the interior of the country and extending to the offshore coral reefs. The coastline is dotted with many beautiful beaches and villages including Bang Bao, which is built on piers. Hat Tha Nam, is also known as the ‘Lonely Beach' and is in the province of Trat. The area extends to 212 square km’s and it has a waterfront party scene that attracts many tourist backpackers.
As you may have guessed my little ‘white lie’ that I had said in my emails about me loving walking had by this time well and truly backfired on me. If you recall, Brendan had said that he liked to go for long walks; well that’s exactly what we did…. everywhere! Despite the humid and daytime heat in Thailand, we walked for miles and miles until the new trainers that I had bought, totally disintegrated!
This didn't stop Brendan though as he thought that I was an experienced hiker!!! L We just bought another pair and then we kept on walking everywhere again, this time with new shoes that hurt even more! L It was of course it was totally my fault as I had pretended to be an expert when quite clearly, I was not!
On one occasion, we walked for ages along a beautiful sandy beach in our bare feet, now I expect that you are thinking that sounds nice. Well let me tell you, that when you have walked so far that you have blisters on the soles of your feet, it is not!!!
It wasn’t really Brendan's fault though as he genuinely believed my assertion that I was a keen and active hiker. Despite being in considerable pain, I kept on plodding along behind with him striding out in front of me presumably thinking that I would be able to keep up the pace. This undoubtedly was my lesson to always tell the truth in future!
When we were out one day, walking again of course and near to the beach, I saw a lovely casual beach dress in a shop that was only priced at 199 Baht (around £4). I thought that it was beautiful and showed it to Brendan as I could imagine myself romantically strolling (not marching!) along a secluded moonlit beach with the silk like material gently wafting in the breeze. Now I’m sure that you ladies will agree that that is a picture of what dreams are made off.
Well it was obviously not for Brendan as he merely marched off into the distance again with me following some distance behind…. Without the dress! L
After our time on the island, we travelled by bus to the western part of Thailand where I enjoyed showing him and telling him about our culture. Of course in reality, I really only knew about some of what we saw, the remainder I had learned from tour guides or I just made up on the spot to impress him, although I could never admit to that to Brendan!
Well enough of all of this tiring travelling so that’s all for this week as my work in the Thai Massage Room and Spa again beckons with my next customer due to arrive soon. I have enjoyed looking back and day dreaming with you again although I was so engrossed with it I forgot to drink my coffee and it’s now cold!
Looking forward to being with you all again with Part 13 next week. I wonder if the number 13 will be lucky or unlucky for me???
Posted by Noi McIntyre on October 08, 2019