We awoke to our last day at the Karen Hill Tribe Lodge.
After enjoying more pancakes we took another "little walk" to go find Masumai to say goodbye. She was high up in the hills enjoying a breakfast of anything she could find on a branch. She came down to say goodbye so we could feed her some sugar cane. Jana helped to perform a blessing ceremony to thank her. White string is tied loosely around each of her ears while she is blessed for good health and happiness and to thank her for her work with the village people each year. The Karen people have great respect for the animals they care for and it wasa nice way to say goodbye before we left. Masumai, Sisun and the mahout gave us a wonderful experience.
After saying goodbye it was back into the truck for a long bumpy drive home to Chiang Mai. We drove for the first few hours then stopped for lunch at a roadside stand. It was a little outside the type of place we would have chosen and the food was questionable but we had some pad thai and hit the road. 40 minutes down the road were the hot springs. There is a geyser there that constantly shoots out boiling water (and sulfur). Down stram are wonderful natural hot mineral boths filled by water from the geyser, at a steamy 38 degrees. After a relaxing soak it was back to the truck. Another 40 minutes down the road we stopped at a waterfall. Declining another "little walk" after the questionable food from lunch I left that one up to Sisun and Jana while I took a break. I hear it was lovely and a littler walk than expected.
Then another 90 minutes to Chiang Mai. When we arrived we said goodbye to our driver Johnny and made plans to hire Sisun for his day off the next day as our driver and guide to Doi Suttep temple and Tiger Kingdom. We then walked into our guest house, greeted the owner who was expecting us and she led us to our second teakwood cottage, even nicer than the first, although hot water seems hard to come by around here unless you want tea...
After a quick rest we headed back out to the night bazaar for dinner and gelato. We walked around looking for a place to eat and decided to skip the Irish pub. Our rule is when travelling becomes too much or you need a rescue, find the nearest Irish pub, there always is one and the people inside understand. We did not need a rescue so we bypassed it and headed down to a European/Thai place with an open table and the worst service on earth. In Thailand tipping in restaurants is not customary so there is little reason for the staff to work harder. The result is super cheap food and appalling service. You have to stand up and pretend to leave to get a check, we saw this done 5 times. Unfortunately the food was about as good as the service. We should have gone to the pub... Jan was served a cold burger with a slice of still frozen cheese. yum...
This night needed to be turned around fast...enter gelato. Nothing cheers us up like gelato, anywhere in the world. So we went to the gelato man (kiwi and raspberry for me and ferrero rocher and double chocolate for Jana), boughta few souvenirs and hailed a tuk tuk.
For the uninitiated, a tuk tuk is a 3 wheeled motorized rickshaw. In India they areloud, mostly broken down bits ofjunk that movewy faster than a taxi and costa lot less. Here they are way better. Our night was about to improve greatly. Our tuk tuk had a stereo blasting american dance hits and the wind on our faces improved our mood. We arrived home 10 minutes later in a great mood!