Hiking in the jungle and eating bugs

Trip Start Oct 02, 2008
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Trip End Oct 12, 2008


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, October 10, 2008

This hotel is a compound, consisting of a cluster of buildings, arranged around a man-made swamp; wide wooden boardwalks snake throughout the facility. To get to breakfast, maybe 200 metres away, you're supposed to call the front desk and get a golf cart to deliver you there. I think it's quite hypocritical to discourage walking in this way, at a place that claims to be so environmental and green. I am repeatedly offered a golf cart ride down to the restaurant. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I got any exercise, so I sprint on over to breakfast for some much needed cardio.
I fill my plate up with fresh fruit and an omelette. Some superior coffee is delivered to me and I contemplate leisurely lingering over a beautiful looking breakfast.
Once again, our tourguide pushes us way too far. He's like a robot, constantly obsessing over being on time.
"OK time to go!" He exclaims as he looks at his watch and abruptly jumps out of his chair.
"Are you serious, Yui?! I just got my coffee!"
"Let's go, go go!"
OK fine, I abandon my coffee, grab a handful of fruit and follow him outside, only he went to the bathroom and now we have to wait for him *eyeroll*. I jog back to the lobby and order another coffee as we hurry up and wait. Something got mixed up and now we have to wait for some more people who are on another tour elsewhere.
Soon, we're on the bus again, driving into the park. Looking out the back of the bus, we are witness to amazing forest landscapes we were not even vaguely aware of under the cover of darkness last night.
We arrive at the welcome centre where I finallly conquer the squat toilet. Easily finding that delicate balance; both feet planted squarely on the grooved porcelain platform and my hands sweeping my billowing pants out of the way.
In the welcome centre, I find some cute Asian things with bad spelling and grammar. I buy some legwarmers that say "Refinement" and a suction cup road sign that says "I like tourist," right above a picture of a menacing tiger. I really can't get enough of the curious way Asian people use the English language, it's so cute.
We put on the anti-leech booties (very J-pop, harajuku chic).
The mud in the forest is bright red and my feet get stuck about once every 10 steps. Shawn and Liza didn't bring any closed shoes, so they tiptoe through the mess, hoping leeches don't penetrate their sexy muslin booties.
We didn't see many animals but we saw a giant millipede, terrifying leeches and a tree scored with bear claws. The bears sleep in the branches, so they need to go up there all the time. Hiking is not really Shawn's scene, so I was just giggling and watching him find his way through the slippery jungle paths. Hilarious.
He was walking behind me most of the time, so I kept hearing "Oh dear" from behind me in a sort of pseudo old English lady voice. Everytime, I'd turn around, expect something crazy was happening, and find out he had stepped in a little mucky part of the path, getting his booties dirty in the process. Eventually, we came to a clearing, with prickly grass fronds, coming to about shoulder height.
"Oh dear, this reminds me of that scene in Jurassic Park."
I turned around and looked back at Shaun. Suddenly, I felt a small tinge of fear, in the back of my brain. I was also reminded of that scene in The Beach, where the drug lords were just brutally shooting down tourists from a nearby cliff. I nervously looked up and around, scanning the mountains and fields for either dinosaurs or crazy guys in fatigues with automatic rifles. Instead, what I found was some butterflies flitting to and fro, and a bright red salt lick, providing essential minerals for the local fauna.
Around the corner was a watchtower, a couple of guys in fatigues were resting in its shadow. Oh man, I hope they're park rangers. Haha, of course they were... right?
After climbing up the watchtower, and our surveying the scene amidst a blustery wind, I walked back down to try and communicate with them. One of them had an 18 inch jungle knife, so I asked him if I could see it. He whipped it out of its sheath, with a dull glint in the sunlight. I could tell that it was well used by its dull sheen. It looked like it might need a sharpening. I wanted to make sure, so I ran my index finger ever so slowly along the edge of the blade...

"Sssst!" came a voice to my right. I jumped, almost slicing my finger off in the process.

The park rangers both giggled at my astonishment. Quickly picking up the joke, I laugh along with them. Yep, that's a razor sharp knife. I sheepishly give it back and flash my new ranger friends a grin.
"What's it for?"
"Meat, meat!"
"What?! Meat, kill, eat?" I say, pointing to my mouth and miming a chewing motion.
"Yeah, yeah, meat!"
I run to the tall grass and mime cutting it down to make a joke. They laugh even harder at my obvious ignorance, giving me the thumbs up. They know I'm joking too.
"Only meat?"
"Yeah, yeah, meat."
Our group is just about ready to go, so I follow them and head back to the bus.
We get back a little late for dinner, so Yui is anxious once again.
"OK, we have to check out after lunch, hurry hurry!"
I am determined to relax, have my coffee and take a shower. We just came out of a muddy jungle trek after all. Alan and I decide to take our time, and if they have to wait for us, it's their fault. Honestly, who plans a jungle trek with no time for a shower afterwards? I really am getting upset with the child-like treatment I am receiving. Honestly, if I don't make it to the bus on time, then leave without me, I'll catch up with a taxi or bus if I have to and pay my own way, big deal. It's planet earth, after all, I'm not going to fall off the edge of it. So I take my shower and start to pack up, double checking for all the expensive stuff I bought.

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2



3


....


wait, where's 3?!#$%#$@

Oh my godddddddddddd... My dad's awesome souvenir just vanished! I panic, pulling everything out of my backpack and emptying everything onto the floor. Not there... As a last ditch effort, I look under my bag, and to my greatest relief, there it is, the exact thing I was looking for. Phew.

Quickly, I head to the lobby, because I'm actually really late now. Yui is there once again, rushing me and pushing me to hurry as I check out.
"Everyone is waiting, get on the bus!" his eyes obscured by dark, gigantic bubble style sunglasses. I'm never quite sure just how extreme the situation is, just because he seems to be freaking right out, every time.

Our schedule has been changed again, we are going to an elephant ride before making our way to the hotel tonight in ____ . Alan and I have already been on an elephant ride so we hang out, drinking beer in the restaurant while they have a little adventure. Alan goes around snapping photos while I get the blog up to date. Again, there are complaints about the quality of the public relations crew. I find it difficult to find the spelling of the last Buddha statue we just visited...

Anyway, after that, it's on to Nakorn Ratchasima for a night at the Sima Thani hotel.

We check in without a problem, then go out on the street to get a quick glimpse of actual life in this country. Once again, there are people on the streets selling all manner of things, even in front of the temple. As you probably know, this doesn't usually happen in Christianity, unless you are selling souvenirs at some famous church. I get a bunch of people together to come with me and I buy a Thai comedy CD, as well as what I thought was rice wine, but actually turned out to be cooking and ritualistic alcohol. Oh my. I don't know what I'll be using that for in the future. Maybe I'll light something on fire later.

We meet some interesting ladies at a small grocery store. One of the ladies likes my pants, so we try to communicate a little bit. She seems fascinated by my video camera so I let her try it. You can see the result in the accompanying videos below.

After dinner, we head to the night market, we're on a mission for bugs, the edible kind. You can see my face when I first bite into a medium sized teriyaki flavour cricket. It gets lodged in my throat and I end up choking, all while keeping my hand completely steady. Haha.

We see things like malicious looking pellet guns and tasers for sale. I buy a whole pile of t-shirts, at 49 baht each. They all have bad English grammar and spelling as usual. Eventually, I start to get the hang of eating the bugs and I consume maybe 1/3 of the bag. The market starts to close and we go home, happy to have crossed another weird food off my "to eat" list.
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Comments

aalanparker
aalanparker on

Fantastic blog
Wow, great stories. I almost felt like I was there.But who's this Shaun/Sean guy? Same guy or two different guys?

aalanparker

starlagurl
starlagurl on

Re: Fantastic blog
Haha, same guy, you know that.

gildo
gildo on

Awesome!
Wow, that was quite a read! So I take it there were no raptors herding you all into a group for one big kill. Whew!

starlagurl
starlagurl on

Re: Awesome!
Hehehe, nope, no raptors. Thank goodness.

travelmonster
travelmonster on

Wow
All power to you for eating those bugs - I like to think I would try them, but I don't know if I would or not - excellent!

starlagurl
starlagurl on

Re: Wow
Hehehe, thanks Paula, I got kind of addicted to them actually.... they were yummy.

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