Waking up to cool drops of water hitting my face may have been the nicest part of the trip. The day had been quite hot and the train was extremely humid. It was just past midnight so that meant I'd been sleeping for roughly 30 minutes. When I opened my eyes I noticed that the car was completely swarming with insects, primarily little gnats, mosquitos, dragon flies and crane flies. After being freezing cold in the A/C car on the way up to Chiang Mai I decided to travel 2nd class fan car not particularly thinking through the logistics of the situation.
I let out a yell of joy as we swam down the rapids, having just jumped out of the raft on a relatively calmer part of the river. The scenery was unbelievable and we were swimming down a white water river nestled into a steep, lush, green valley in north west Thailand roughly 50 kilometres north of Chiang Mai and our trip was just about over. We'd ridden and bathed elephants, drank Thai whiskey, eaten sticky bamboo rice with the Mahouts (elephant trainers), swam in water falls, and now white water rafting back towards Chiang Mai.
My alarm clock was buzzing in my ear, I rolled over and shut it off. It was 6:30am and I needed to head out to catch the 8:30 train to Chiang Mai. Had a shower and packed my things and 15 minutes later I was on a tuk-tuk to the nearest metro station. I love the metro system in Bangkok, it's fast, clean, and efficient, more so than the metro systems in many other more "western" cities I've been to. I'm sure the fact that the "skytrain" was modeled after the bombardier version used in Vancouver gives me an unconscious comfort helps.
Sam and I fly out tomorrow, so this will be my last update from Thailand! As sad as it is to be leaving, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing friends in South Africa again, spending some more time in our place in Cape Town, and planning for a Bloody Huge Party in March ;-).
Thailand really is an amazing country with a culture I've really come to respect. Almost all of the Thai people I've met have been extremely friendly and accommodating. There's always the few that will try to take advantage of tourists but they're definitely in the minority. And really, why not try and take advantage of tourists if you've got the chance ;-).
We arrived in Thailand safe and sound almost exactly three weeks ago. Amazing how time flies! We spent our first week in Bangkok shopping for clothes (since we brought almost nothing here) and seeing parts of the city that we hadn't explored last time we were here. Bangkok is really an amazing city, insanely busy, with delicious street food everywhere, and amazing (and quite clean) public transport.