This weekend was one for the books! It began with a ridiculous series of events that is too funny not to share. If you are following my blog and you don’t know me, you’ll realize quickly I LOVE TO TALK. I try to be concise.. but there is just SO much to SAY! (LOL bringing you back to Miami/all of college friends?). The group of American teachers at our school (five of us) planned a weekend trip to the neighboring town Kanchanburi to visit the famous Erawan National Park to go hiking and swimming in the 7-tier waterfall. Three of the girls knew each other from home and also had other American friends who went through our same program. When it was all said and done we rounded up TEN American girls to go on this trip. Ten young attractive American girls are gawked at in the US…just imagine how ridiculous we look parading around Thailand together.
We planned to leave Friday after school and take the bus to Kanchanburi. We were told those buses run every hour or half hour and our research foolishly stopped there. Everything is so relaxed and “fly by the seat of your pants” here, it is often more stressful to try to make stringent plans then it is to just go with the flow. We met in the lobby of our apartment building and headed out for the bus station. One Tuk-tuk was outside so we spilt up and told the girls we would meet them at the bus station. Little did we know, a student from the English Program would come to our rescue! She saw us floundering trying to remember the words for “bus station” and communicate in broken Thai to the tuk-tuk driver. She offered the remaining girls a ride from her grandmother. This is where the confusion set in… We got a call from the other girls on the tuk-tuk telling us they just chased down the FINAL bus to Kanchanburi that already departed from the bus stop. Apparently chasing down buses is acceptable here… Only in Thailand…. They tried to make the bus wait but couldn’t communicate with the driver. We gave up and decided to go back to our apartment and figure it out… But our friendly Thai student would not give up that easily. She did everything in her power and found us a personal shuttle that her family member drove us to Kanchanburi in (about an 1:30 minutes away). She even came along with us for the ride and gave us Thai lessons on the way. As my friend said, “I’m just overcome by the beer and the kindness”. Thai culture is the closest thing to altruism I have ever seen. They are so kind, not because they have to be, because that is simply how they are. We arrived safely in Kanchanburi and headed to our hotel, which actually was a floating raft house on the river. SO COOL! Then we saw the cockroach party in the bathroom…and decided we would book the regular hotel rooms from now on…
We explored the town, ate, drank, smoked some Hookah, then realized that all the bars were closed and went home. The head Monk in Thailand died last week and the country will be in a “state of mourning” for the next 15 days. We were asked to wear black and white to school and bars close their doors extremely early out of respect. It is refreshing to see how much loyalty and honor their society has for the people in power. The next morning we got an early start and headed to Erawan National Park. After a long and bumpy bus ride, we began hiking up the huge mountain. The Erawan Waterfall is impossible to describe in words. It is seven separate specular, unique waterfalls. There is a trial that leads up the mountain and you can stop and swim in whichever falls you would like. It was like jumping face first into “The Jungle Book”. We were determined to make it to the top and make it back down in time for the last bus. This was a difficult task with 10 American girls, stopping for photo ops or snacks, swimming and watching the fierce monkeys swing in the trees. I honestly can say it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Well worth the trip.
Once we made it back to the center city we went out for a night of eating, celebrating, chatting, TEQULIA, whisky and hookah. I ordered one of the best meals I have had in Thailand and savored every bite since it was 230 Baht (typical meal is around 100 BAHT). I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon a mini American white girl army to make me feel at home and accompany me on my adventures. My friend Christine and I stayed at the local bar chatting, arm wrestling, smoking hookah until the sky started turning light again. The owner of the bar, a young Thai woman cooked the late night crew a huge pot of spicy noodles and we fought over them like the street dogs. We met friends from Thailand, England, Spain, and the West coast of the US. We all had music in common, a love for traveling and SANOOK (fun). Once you start traveling, you realize the cliché saying being “bit by the travel bug” is extremely factual. Adventure is contagious. Kindness is contagious. The world is so big and there is so much to see. The journey home to Suphanburi the next day was long and hot but the memories were well worth it. The fact that Suphanburi already feels like “home” after a weekend trip reminds me how quickly human beings can adjust and grow. The adventure continues…. XOXO