I am finally out of Bangkok.....thank the lord....please no one ever go there...the only nice thing i saw in my whole time there was the Grand Palace which when you finally managed to get in there (after being accosted by tourist touts, tuk tuk drivers, salesmen and just generally every type of conman who walks the earth)was pretty spectacular. As usual the photos dont do it justice at all but this palace has about 23 buildings and just one of the small buildings alone is made with 6 million gold tiles..beautiful.
ooh and also i met up with my tour group. There are 12 of us. 3 couples and 6 single girls - 6 of us are English, 2 american,2 Scots, 1 French and 1 Hungarian so we are a mixed bunch but all are very lovely and its nice to have friends again!
After Bangkok we headed down south on an overnight train, what a brilliant invention. At 9pm porters come round and turn your ordinary day seats into bunk beds, it was like a giant slumber party. Then at 5am (not to happy about that particular part) we arrived in the Jungle...yep the real jungle. We all had jungle huts between 2 of us that ranged in luxury from a wooden & canvas tent to a 2 story 2 bedroom villa...of course i managed to get myself a villa - check out the pic
whilst in the jungle we washed in cold water, couldnt flush the toilets, slathered ourselves in mozzie spray and used torches to see our way around at night time...it was fab (for 2 nights but i doubt i could have done it for any longer). Our first afternoon in the jungle we went 'tubing' down the river...this is white water rafting but on an inner tube...brilliant fun apart from where you get to a particularly rocky part and you have to use all your muscles to manage to lift your bum out of the water so that it doesnt get lacerated. Whilst we were in the water our guide (a tiny thai girl who i think was supposed to be at primary school) suddenly jumped out of the water and sat on her tube 'yoda' style...we all had no idea why...until we got to the end of our trip and found out that she had spotted a rather large venomous water snake by us....always good to know that the guides will protect their charges over themselves, she didnt even signal to us to get out the way!!! luckily i think the snake was more scared of us noisy westerners and slithered away.
The next day we had a morning elephant trek...what a lovely way to start the day! i was having all sorts of visions of how i was going to manage to get on this giant creature and couldnt work out how they would make a saddle big enough for an elephant?? then i started having visions of climbing up 'lord of the rings' style (yep still hankering after Legolas/Orlando Bloom) but it turned out that nothing so exciting was to occur. Instead we climbed into the loft of this wooden hut and the elephants were 'reversed' in and we climbed sedately onto the garden benches that were strapped to the elephants backs....for big creatures they are sooo graceful. we then spent an hour meandering through the jungle and river like the Queens of Sheba. The only part of the trip that ruined my idyllic picture was when our elephant went for a number 2 (sounded like bombs were landing) and the elephant guide picked it all up with his hands and threw it into the scrub.....believe me when i gave him his tip i made sure that i was holding the very edge of the note so that no part of my body touched him!
After the jungle we headed down by the worst bus in the world to Southern Thailand which is sooo beautiful - its the part of thailand that was hit by the tsunami but you cant tell at all as it has been built right back up again. Today we went on an island hopping tour around all the islands where the movie 'the beach' was filmed...it is stunning...paradise (although Lombok is still my favourite desert island destination) we did lots of snorkelling and apparently Nemo and his mates are over in their Thai holiday home as i paid him a visit.
Tomorrow we are going Sea kayaking in mangrove swamps...im hoping that a swamp over here isnt quite what a swamp would be in my imagination...will keep you all posted
off to an irish bar now...yes they get everywhere
love to everyone
vik x x x x