Saturday, March 6, 2010
The official premier adventure of the non-official CIEE Outing Club
I just made that club up PS, but I felt like I was back in BOC- mode going on my first non-CIEE sponsored adventure today. Ten of us met at the office to head to the bus station via songtao. Easy enough. Luckily, Ann had her roommate write out "Can you help me get to Phu Wiang?" in Thai to show people once we arrived at the bus station so we could be directed in the right direction. We were led to a bright orange bus, non-airconditioned, which was fine, until the man in front of me, dressed in a straight-up coat, with whom I was sharing a window, decided to close that window. It blows my mind the Thai's resistance to heat- I mean, I know I'm more resistant to cold, but I still get cold. I don't wear a tank top and open the windows when driving to Sugarloaf in the middle of December. Anyway, sweltering. Although we thought the bus ride was 50 minutes, it was an hour and a half, but no complaints besides the heat. We were told to unload, and were led to a few TukTuk drivers who were going to take us the last leg of the trip. Unaware of the length of the trip and attempting to save some money, we tried to fit all 10 of us in one TukTuk despite resistance from the drivers. When the TukTuk refused to go because of the weight, we caved. Thank god we did- the ride was an hour long, uphill through the middle of nowhere, and even with only five of us the TukTuk was dragging on the ground, only going 12 km per hour, and screaming of pain with every turn. We stopped at a dinosaur museum first. Khon Kaen province and all of Isaan are very well known and proud of their paleontological history, so we learned about some of the dinosaur fossils that were found here, and also got a twist on the Thai version of evolution. rats--mouse lemur--lemur--macaque--ape--human. Also, their timeline of human evolution with Lucy and the neaderthals and all that, ended up with a human female in a belly shirt and a short skirt and lipstick. Our TukTuk driver pointed at her, gave a thumbs up, and said "Suai, suai" (beautiful). After we had our fill of the dinosaur museum, we piled back into our TukTuks and were taken to a beautiful national park to eat and go on a hike. Not exactly knowing what was on the menu, we managed to order about 6 plates of vegetable fried rice and 2 omelets - so much for diversity. After lunch, we started up a steep hill to a view point- it felt so amazing to be in the outdoors hiking again, and although I had to turn around early because some of us had to catch a bus in order to meet our roommates to see a movie in time, just climbing and being surrounding by trees was worth every minute and baht of the trip. Unfortunately, my camera got stolen, so I have no pictures for you, but I'm off to replace that, so next personal days, I'll document my adventures. The TukTuk ride back to the bus took half the time that it did to get there, since it was downhill the whole way. The bus ended up being so late that the half of the group that finished the hike managed to catch the same bus anyway. We all passed out on the way home, Gianna on a Thai guy's shoulder... and I headed straight to the mall to catch Alice in Wonderland with my roommate and other Thai friends to celebrate their last exam.