Mae Hong Son
Trip Start Dec 29, 2007
33Trip End Mar 10, 2008
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Where I stayed
While it was supposed to be cooler up here, the weather has stayed in the upper 80s, and it rained nearly nonstop the first few days I was here. That was peachy with me, since I was laid up with a head cold and sinus infection, and I'd rather be sick on rainy days and not waste the good weather. So, I spent most of my time reading, sleeping off my cold, and walking around town during the breaks between the rain
Today, the sun finally came out and I woke up feeling mostly better, thanks to the antibiotics I brought from home. Most of the trekking companies weren't running trips today, so I decided to rent a motorbike and ride up to Mae Aw, which is a town about 55 kilometers north of here. The trip is supposed to be gorgeous, with huge waterfalls and stunning scenery along the way, and although I had never ridden a motorbike before, I figured it couldn't be that difficult.
Less than an hour later, as I was applying antiseptic to my bloodied elbows and knees, I found myself wondering what had gone so horribly wrong. I mean, motorbikes are ubiquitous around here - teenagers ride them with impunity, infants sit on the handlebars without helmets, and even grandmothers have no problems handling these babies. So what the hell is my deal?
I would have accepted my inglorious fate with more grace if the accident had at least been a spectacular one
I jumped to my feet immediately, hoping of course no one had noticed, but it was too late. My physical injuries were minimal- scraped knees and elbows - but the damage to my pride was beyond repair. If I entertained any delusion that I was even remotely cool, if just for a minute, that fleeting fantasy was long gone. The girl inspected the damage to the bike and kindly calculated it at 780 baht- about five times more than what it would have cost me to rent the damn thing for a day. I gladly forked over the cash and shuffled off to the local pharmacy to pick up a bottle of disinfectant and gauze bandages, laughing out loud at myself along the way.
So no motorbike tour today - maybe another time. Instead, I'm easing my embarrassment by treating myself to a nice lunch, sitting by Jong Kham Lake, and reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Much more my speed, I think. Tomorrow, I head out to Pai - where I'll escape my local infamy and enjoy the beautiful vistas from the comfort of an air-conditioned minibus - for a couple of days. I may hook up with a trekking company there or try once again to conquer the two wheels of death. We'll see how my ego has recovered by then.
For the record, I'm blaming the whole fiasco on the decongestants, Mucolax, and antibiotics I'm taking for my sinus infection. The pharmaceuticals clearly impaired my sense of balance and ability to operate machinery.
Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.