After sleeping until 7:20 (a new record!), we had our usual delicious breakfast. Then, our new friend Ady picked us up in his super-cool diesel Toyota Forerunner (known as a Fortuner around these parts). We had made plans to visit his favorite waterfall, which has a small pool at its base that is perfect for a little dip. Though it rained all night, and even drizzled a little all day, it turned out to be perfect for a jungle trek because it kept the temperature perfectly pleasant (about 25 degrees C). So we dropped off his beautiful little 2 year old at her preschool and set off for Khun Korn. The drive was cool because the road snaked along through the countryside past rice fields, banana trees and small traditional Thai houses. About 45 minutes later we arrived at the trail head. There was absolutely no one around, probably because it was drizzling ever so slightly, but perhaps it was just early on a Thursday morning. The trail was slick and rocky and traversed the little river several times. There were bridges made of bamboo rods with split bamboo as a covering. Most were fine, but a couple required special care in crossing, especially because of the rain-caused slickness.
The sign at the trail head said 1400 meters, and I guess that was about right, though I was too engrossed in looking at the foliage to really tell.
Mosquitoes followed us the whole way, but fortunately few were hungry so we just kept marching and peppering Ady with questions about living in Chiang Rai. "So, can you pump your own gas here, or...?" "Do you do most of your grocery shopping at the Big C, or are you a loyal Macro customer?" Ady was so patient.
Arriving at the waterfall, the mosquitoes disappeared because the force of the falling water created a stiff wind that drove them away and cooled down the air even more. It was pretty impressive, I have to say. And the kids being the kids, stripped down before anyone else, changed into bathing suits and ran down the mossy boulders to the water. Instant smiles and happiness. Ady was kind enough to guide them, one at a time, to a little cove behind the waterfall. I think it was something that the kids will definitely remember for a long time to come.
Afterwards, we hiked back to the car and drove back into the city. Ady suggested a little Mediterranean restaurant for lunch and so we demanded that he let us buy him a meal for such a great day. It turned out to be Maltese (almost identical to any good Italian restaurant.) We had pizza and beer and just felt so so relaxed having met a friend, explored a super cool natural feature, and had a meal that didn't have one rice noodle in it.
Back at the hotel, Pi called and brought our new go-cart to us. So, now we are mobile too, which is nice.
One funny thing that happened on our hike was that Ady said every time he had been on this trail previously, he had met someone from Israel. That is quite a coincidence considering the remoteness of the place, he's been there four times, and the fact that it's, well, Chiang Rai Thailand. Since we arrived and didn't see anyone around, I thought his streak had ended, but sure enough, as we walked down the trail back to the car, we met an Israeli family. That's five in a row now. What gives?
Anyway, it was a great morning and just what this group needed to restore a little morale and get us excited about living here. The weekend is coming up and tomorrow is our one week anniversary. Anything can happen...