Tag Archives: Chiang Mai

Spider Showers and the Eye of the Tiger…

14 Jul

WOW WOW WOW, what an experience! Chiang Mai has been incredible, both relaxing and adrenaline packed. We’re due to leave tomorrow after a week of fun including a cooking school, a less-than-average but in retrospect, awesome, jungle trek, shopping in tourist markets, riding elephants and getting massaged to the max!

The highlight for mum and I here in Chiang Mai however, has most definitely been stepping foot in several tiger’s cages.

There’s a place called Tiger Kingdom here that basically charges an extortionate amount for the privilege of getting up close and personal with these beyond-beautiful creatures.  There’s some debate over how they’re pretty much exploiting them. Having visited and witnessed them yawning in boredom at having their legs picked up and their fluffy tails sung into like microphones, I have to say they probably are being exploited a bit, but some people also say they’re tranquilised and I don’t think that’s correct. The little fluffy tiger cubs were jumping around all over the place and we saw one adult getting very active with a slab of meat being dangled over a swimming pool as he took a bath. We were told they’re just docile in the daytime, usually, because they’re nocturnal.

I hope the tigers are being well looked after, because the experience of stroking those black and orange stripes and touching those huge padded paws, and looking right into those pink, open mouth and yellow eyes is mind-blowing. They’re blimmin’ huge! At one point, the giant female they call Sophia yawned, turned round and looked at me, and for a fleeting moment my life flashed before my eyes. I thought, “holy shit, I’m gonna get eaten by a tiger”, about two milliseconds after I thought, hey, if dying is my destiny today, imagine how cool it would be to get eaten by a tiger!”

Tigers are officially my new favourite animal I think, after lizards. I do like lizards. I admire living things that can stick to walls and still sing beautifully while they’re at it, like birds in the night time. They make a clicking sound, like a teacher’s tut over and over again, only it’s musical. They tut in time with the frogs and the cicadas and if you’re lucky they’ll let you pick them up, at which point they generally head for the warmest part of your body, like your bra. Lizards are everywhere here. You could carry a clicking, singing lizard your bra every day if you wanted to, in Chiang Mai. We saw a huge salamander too, pink, green and brown, living behind a painting on the wall of our jungle camp.

Back to that. Mum did very well as it involved a lot of walking, getting rained on and wading through mud. We had to sleep in a dorm with beds pressed together, so it was more like an orphanage in 1941 than a bedroom for tourists in Thailand… plus we saw a huuuuuuge centipede on the wall in the loo the next morning so I had to wait about an hour before I could pee.

We had a bad rower on our rubber river boat cruise. Instead of steering us round the dangling branches, he directed us straight through them, so we experienced regular showers of wet leaves and jungle spiders. The spiders were immense, evil and brown, the stuff of nightmares. They even floated on the water. Imagine! Luckily I didn’t cry but I did give the guy a bit of a telling off when we got to the other end, at which point we were informed it was his first time on the rapids and he’d never steered a boat before. Hmmm….

Anyway, we’re alive. We survived giant centipedes, showering with spiders and cuddling tigers. And we can both now cook Massaman curry too, thanks to our brilliant class with Cooking At Home Chiang Mai. (Will have to put some more piccies up about that one later).

Oh, we also made a video of the tigers, which includes our brief stop with a King Cobra. Enjoy! Next stop, Kanchanaburi. xx

An impending jungle trek…

9 Jul

This won’t be winning any awards for the best website design any time soon, but it does provide quite an exciting insight for the next few days in the Liz and Becky Thailand adventure. After some incredible experiences cuddling tigers, kissing pythons and getting hugged by elephant trunks yesterday, we’re heading off with a company called Buddy Tours on a three day, two night jungle trek… type thing.

The map above displays our route. Keep in mind that the temperature here in Chiang Mai is a suffocating 35 degrees, and it’s staggeringly humid too. If we don’t crumble at the first hot an sweaty hurdle it’ll be a miracle; there’s A LOT of walking involved here. But hey, we might lose a few pounds. And that’s never a bad thing.

We’re getting picked up tomorrow and driven to a waterfall, then we’ll do more walking and camp at an overnight grassy spot, which is called a lodge but looks more like a garden shed with some blankets in it. Hmmm. Anyway, the next day we get to go to a village populated by the Karen Long Neck tribe… well, a tourist version of one anyway. These are the people who wear bangles round their necks. Intriguing. I have lots of questions for these people. Can they only eat long and thin things that fit in their pipes, and if so, where do they buy their spaghetti when they live in the middle of nowhere?

After that we get to ride elephants and go bamboo rafting and hopefully stay alive in the heat long enough to get back to Chiang Mai. It’s very touristy here but I think it’s an easier place than Bangkok. Still gotta go back there to start my Intrepid tour on the 17th though. Looking forward to that. I know it’s gonna involve even more suffocating heat and even MORE sleeping in sheds, but hey, “it’s all an experience, isn’t it.”

 

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