Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunday Motor Biking to the Highest Spot in Thailand

Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain top of Thailand with the 2, 565 meters height above sea level it appears an amazing variety of natural resources including beautiful seas of clouds, evergreen tree forests coated with ferns, mosses, and orchids.  Doi Inthanon is a source of the River Ping, which has sustained the people of Chiang Mai for centuries and which generates the spectacular Mae Ya and Wachirathan waterfall.

We visited all the waterfalls-Mae Ya waterfall, Mae Klang waterfall, Sirithan waterfall, Siriphum waterfall, and Wachirathan waterfall. 

The day started off with Marlena, a girl I met from couch surfing, looking for a motor bike rental for me near Chiang Mai university.  I was concerned with it being 8am that many places would not be open and unfortunately we had to go to the city center aka tourist trap area to rent.  I stopped at Mr. Beer to rent my first motor bike ever.  The guy was not very friendly and gave me quick instructions how to ride it.  He showed me where how to brake and accelerate and as he was doing that I accelerated a bit too much and flew past him.  He shouted, “You ever ride bike?.” I said, “No, I drive car.”

“Ohhh car not same.”  “ You have accident, you buy bike.” I said, “Okay, okay no problem.”

He was the first person to raise their voice at me in Thailand-and hopefully the last.  I figured out how to brake and accelerate and basically how to drive a bike.  But  Mr. Beer made me very nervous and throughout the day I kept envisioning him shaking his head at me and saying, “You break, you buy.”

The way to Doi Inthanon was about 30 miles, hills, countryside, cows, and villages.  We stopped by a village that eats dog.  Arriving at Doi Inthanon, we stopped at our first waterfall.  To park, we had to go down hill and I was not exactly sure how to do that so I stopped and braked stopped and braked and stopped and braked.  A beautiful man selling bow and arrows was laughing and smiling at me. 

Here was our first waterfall Mae Kleng. 

Next stop was my favorite waterfall- Wachirathon waterfall.  The mist coming from the waterfall was cool and refreshing and the rainbow that you could see from any angle was stunning.  I wish we could have swimmed in this waterfall!

We had a nice lunch of Papaya Salad, Pom Theng, and Omelette with Rice.  Usually restaurants at tourist sites are expensive- lunch cost us $1.50 per person.  I am constantly amazed at how cheap things are and how amazing the food tastes. 

We continued on stopping at another waterfall and stopping at my favorite place-The Munk Village.  These people were so special and truly touched my hearts.  The kids were playing and smiling on the sides of the streets.  They were eating bananas and playing with sunflowers while saying hello  “Sawa-dee-ka.”  A woman sat in her hut cutting up meat with an axe, a woman sits bathing her child, a couple sells their handmade jewelry.  I just kept stopping to take in all the beautiful moments.  There were green houses in the hills along with many different kinds of animals-ox, cow, and pig. 

In the market, they sold fresh, dried fruit-kiwi, mango, strawberry, the white fruit that comes from Thailand, and tomatoes(my favorite).  The people were just lovely and their pronunciation of the fruit was adorable-strawwbrrees.  Beautiful babies and children were there playing underneath the tables or sitting bundled up with their parents.  The parents have such love/adoration for their children-it is truly beautiful to see. 

A man let us try some purple sweet potatoes and corn with a big smile of course. As we walk around, I had such an out of body experience, I felt like I was in a dream seeing such lovely, real people wearing their hearts on their sleeve.  All kinds of fruits, vegetables, and meats among lush, green hills, Truly incredible. 

                                           The most adorable family I met at the top of the mountain The little one
                                                                  with the hats name is Emmie

The sun was just beginning to set as we rode down the mountain going super fast and waiving our hands up the air shouting.  The breathtaking views could not even be photographed just experienced and kept in the memory. All the way down 2,000 plus meters…

Marlena was great company because she was just as happy and excited as me. When she would see a waterfall, her nonverbal expressions were overjoyed and thankful.   She is also from the US, but she has lived in Thailand for 2 years working with a family in a small village.  I asked her what she does and she said “Everything” anything from domestic tasks to getting prepared for school to teaching English.  She makes little money, but is as happy as could be.  It was wonderful being able to relate to her about the undesired socially constructed American life.  I would imagine that working in a village or extremely rural area gives you such a fresh perspective on life.  No electricity, no indoor plumbing, cooking your meals fresh everyday, and no unnecessary electronics.  The more time I can spend in the villages the better. It is inspring to see the beauty of giving yourself to others in an altruistic, caring manner.  Keep up the great work Marlena!

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