An idyllic waterfall and a dead body

1 Jun

Another Thailand road trip has come to an end. The mini beast, a temperamental 4 door Suzuki Vitara was our carriage in our crusade for adventure. Jihee, Jeff, Mandy and myself made up team adventure.

We left the city of Chiang Mai headed for the mountains and Jungle of North Thailand. After winding our way up and down the steep roads surrounded by lush green rainforest we arrived at Pai. A small town nestled in the valley with a large expat artist community and a live music scene to rival ………………………..well, a place with a real good music scene I suppose.

Pai was our base as we set off in search of hill tribe villages, hot springs and waterfalls. With most good adventures we basically just got lost on roads that didn’t seem to appear on our maps. We managed to come across more muddy waterfalls, boiling hot springs that would cook a chicken in 5 minutes – yes there were some girly screams let out accidently hopping into it- and villages that weren’t that surprised to see a bunch of whities. But it was awesome just cruising with the windows down, the sun beating down, green grass, following a narrow road that every now and then would bring us face to face with a truck full of smiling contented peasant workers.

After feasting on the hippy inspired cuisine of Pai for a couple days it was onto Mae Hong Son, another mountain town famous for the long neck tribes. Instead of going on a tour to a long-neck village we made the short journey north to the Burmese border to check it out ourselves. One word sums this experience up, exploitation, but I hope to write a blog post on this in the days to come. Anyway we got the token photo which they expect, hopped back into the mini beast and went in search of yet another waterfall.

And find a waterfall we did! It wasn’t really the waterfall that made us feel like a 4 year kid sitting on Santa Claus knee for the first time, but rather the 5 metre deep rock surrounded clear swimming hole that the waterfall ran into. The best part was that we had it all to ourselves. We spent hours there, diving, flipping, and rock climbing, just enjoying the serenity, the feeling of “wow, this is awesome”. Thank you to that waterfall, as I was beginning to think that Thailand’s idea of waterfalls was sewerage coloured water dribbling into a puddle – OK I realise I’m a waterfall snob coming from New Zealand- but thumbs up to that waterfall.

So after more driving on winding roads that pettier out into narrow impassable gardens (see photo below) and car loads of smiling Thai school kids, it was time to get back to Chaing Mai to drop off the car.

On the last leg of the journey the heavens unleashed on us, the main highway into Chiang Mai was like an elongated lake. Curtains of water closed over the windscreen as we hydroplaned over the lake surface. A flashing baton up ahead signalled for us to slow down. As we passed the baton waving officer, just 2 metres from us lay the limp uncovered dead body of a young lady who I believe was the driver of the scooter that rested under the chassis of the pick-up truck.

Seeing that made us think, someone’s world was about to be turned upside down with a knock at the door. Someone’s mother, wife, sister wasn’t coming home. We slowed down.

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