Nat and Beck Go Large!
The bloke who was taking us on the trip (who by the way is a big fat liar!) had told us the day before about the itinerary. Firstly he said going to see some elephants and maybe sit on them a bit, then a couple of hours to walk up a mountain and see some impressive views, an hour to walk down again to a village were we meet a tribe and stay there that night. Then the next day walk for about two hours to see a waterfall, another hour to meet another tribe and then bamboo rafting and then home! So really what comes to mind? I had pictures of us rescuing baby elephants like something off going wild, then a bit of a stroll up the mountain a la Julie Andrews - 'the hills are aliiiiive, with sound of muuuusic' - then meeting some crazy tribal people with exceptionally long necks, bit more walking, glorious waterfall, then bamboo raft home. All good! Lies all lies! Becky - The elephant trekking was quite pants, we were under the impression that the money from the treks helps look after the animals but the fact of the matter is that they spend a lot of time chained to a tree! The was three elephants in total (nelly, el el cool phant and snoop elephant) and two guides (gollum and gollum) who had pointy sticks and weird feet (while were on the subject I have to say that the amount of toes on general show in thailand is wrong wrong wrong! everyone just kicks off their flip flops wherever they are and gets their feet out - do they have no decency) and four japanese tourists who were all super skinny with bottonmless stomachs, super fit and took a million photos of everything! So about this trekking lark, take it from me, DON'T! We HIKED up a mountain through the jungle for what seemed like an eternity, I was so pathetically exhausted that the poor little bloke we were walkin with had to carry my bag! Thought I was goin to throw myself off at one point (trust me it would have been a lot less painful!) I've never been so tired in my life! When I finally did get to the top, there was no point me actually being there cos I couldn't take in the view on account that I was concentrating so hard on getting the oxygen to circulate. We then had to trek back DOWN a mountain through jungle to where this tribe lived! how rude! I think I caught asthma on the way up because there is no way that I'm really that unfit! Natalie was a superstar and wheezed encouragement at me all the way up! We stayed in the back room of someones hut on some old mattresses - mother you would have had a fit, it was worse than Butlins! The next day we went trekking again which wasnt so bad, I actually enjoyed it! The waterfall was absolutely gorgeous, we had to climb over loads of rocks and stuff to get there but it was worth it! This was my fave part but needless to say this was the only thing that the japanese weren't that interested in so we got off early. Got absolutely soaked on the bamboo rafts but it was quite good fun! Nat- Must say my fave part was when the elephant was taking no notice of the "guide" (we call him the elephant bashing B******) and decided to relieve himself in the middle of the forest! Hated the rest of the elephant ride though, there was tears at the injustice of it all. The village experience was quite eye-opening, we had cold showers underneath a tap, and were in bed by 10.30pm - there was nothing else to do! The people were lovely though, especially the kids. Our guides took us to the school which their "Banana Project" helped build, the project is funded in part by the guesthouse we stayed in and the money from the treks also goes towards it, so at least all the hard work getting up the mountain was for a good cause! The class sang songs in their local dialect and Japanese for us, one of the girls was a little superstar, a Britney Spears in the making with her dance routines!! Couldn't say I'd do the trek again (not without a few trips to the gym first anyway!) but glad we did it, made us realise we should really get a bit more exercise!!