Day 4 Summary: Depart Pai at 8am for Whitewater rafting trip. End the day with dinner with our new English friends, another $6 hour long foot massage AND $0.75 Nutella pancakes.
Today we met a group of 4 others from England and Alec, the owner of a restaurant/bike rental/tour guide agent, at 8am. We had a quick bite to eat and hoped in his truck for a 2 hour journey further North. The road is another windey, twisty & steep one and Alec, like our taxi cab driver, uses a "system" of horn honks to signal any traffic that may be coming around one of the 15 degree turns. Alec has an MP3 player in his truck loaded with American songs of his choice. I'm still half asleep until Play that Funky Music Whiteboy comes on and Alec cranks it up. I can't help but to bust out a few moves from the back seat. Mr. Alec laughs. Next up, John Denver's Take Me Home Country Road and I'm suddenly homesick and miss my MFer (Mary Francis) so much! I wish she was here so we could laugh until we cry. As John Denver fades out, Phil Collins comes in with Think Twice, Just Another Day in Paradise and I find myself very introspective. But then Elvis comes on and I simply tune out and take in the sights. We stop just short of the border of Burma and are met by our rafting guide, Mr. God. Mr. God is a Thai native and has surprisingly good English, but with a British accent. We would later learn that he went to University in Bangkok and has a degree as a Mechanical Engineer and his sister is a doctor in Bangkok. He quit his job as a mechanical engineer so he could be a tour guide. Our group of 6 jump into the raft with God steering our raft in the back. The river starts off easy for the first half with some class 1-2 rapids. We stop at several hot springs that are the hottest I have ever seen. At some of the more accessible hot springs in the area, they sell eggs to the tourist so you can boil them. Obviously, you can't get in them. Mr. God reaches in next to the springs and pulls up a handful of dark clay. He then proceeds to give us all clay masks. Once we all have our faces on, we pick up sticks and pretend to be warriors. What a bunch of dorks. Wash our faces and back on our way...until our next stop. Cliff diving. I chicken out since just a couple months ago my old room mate, Abbey, ended up with a broken spine from cliff diving in Tahoe. In fact, everyone chickens out except Justin and one of the English guys who races dirt bikes. We are instructed to push the raft off the bank when Mr. God says so and they jumpers will float down to the raft. No sooner than we push off the bank, SPLASH. I turn around and see the English guy coming up and yelling in delight. A couple seconds later, Justin leaps off the cliff. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous, but there is no way I want to end up in a Thai hospital.
A bit later it is 1pm and we stop along the river at a hut. There is a local man and his dog waiting there for us. We are told he lives there and takes care of the hut and cleans up the lunches from their daily tours. Lunch is good. It is a fried rice with chicken, fresh watermelon and a new fruit I have never heard of, Durian. I think that it is Lychee as it takes almost identical. Im still not convinced they arent the same thing, but I havent had time to google it yet.
We are off again and told the 2nd half of the river is class 3-4 rapids, about 15 total. At one point Justin and one of the English girls go overboard. She pops up, but he doesnt. I start to panic for a moment because I know he must be stuck underneath the raft. He was. Thankfully, a few seconds later he popped up as well.
45 kilometers later, I managed to be the only one that didnt get thrown from the raft. I almost did, but I credit that to my horse and mechanical bullriding skillz! ha!
We are exhausted as we get out of the raft, say goodbye to Mr. God, and jump in the truck with Alec for our 2 hour journey back to town (Pai). I failed to mention that Alec's truck has a covered bed and is equipped with a seat. Since Justin and I scored the backseat on the way, it was our torn to sit in the back. I was very worried I would get sick riding backwards down a twisted road. I kept my eyes on the road the entire time and luckily I did not.
Back in Pai we join the English crew and a restaurant down the street they have fallen in love with because of the Bangers and Mash. They were quite good and a nice break from Thai food.
Exhausted and dirty, we go back to our hotel and shower up. After my shower, I walk across the street for another hour long $6 foot massage and Justin brings me the Nutella pancakes I have been craving from the street vendor up the road. With our sweet tooth cured, we head to bed.