There are two parts to this. The following post about my weekend, and an announcement that follows many of you may not be too surprised to at.
I need a new toothbrush.
This weekend I went with my friend Amp and several other members of the Thammasat Speaker’s Union to Amp’s weekend house in Kanchanaburi province. We stayed in a boat-turned-guesthouse that Amp’s father bought a few years back when it was retired.
(From left to right: Amp (nearest head), Poy (left-most head), Sonya, Vicky, Billy, Pat and Ofoon. Not pictured: Steve (American), Prau, and yours truly.)
We slept late on Saturday, and then drove to the nearby Erawan National Park. We hiked in few kilometers and saw five tiers of a waterfall.
We stopped to swim in the naturally formed pool under the fifth, which was quite refreshing, little fish aside. Owing to how clear the water was, we were able to see fish swimming in most of the waterfall pools on the way up– ranging from no longer than an inch to fourteen plus inches. On entering the pool, however, I was most disconcerted when I was actively attacked by fish no longer than three inches. Every time I stopped moving, one of the little suckers would come up bite my feet or hands! I can’t say that it hurt, but imagine the sensation of being nibbled on in the nebulous, sometimes murky water of a Thai waterfall pool! Fortunately, once I moved into the deep water and eventually under the falls I gained some respite (which, of course, makes no sense– how does a fish have the audacity to bite something literally a THOUSAND TIMES its size but not the courage to swim in 5′ deep water?!). Once I managed to get away from the biting fish, the water was cool, clean and very enjoyable. While we were swimming it began to rain, and by the time we came out, it was just as wet to stand near the pool as in it. But even that was pleasant– a slow, heavy monsoon rain, coming from clean clouds through clean air… not at all like Bangkok’s acid rain.
Sunday we slept late again, and then drove to the town of Kanchanaburi and had lunch at a floating restaurant (built on pontoons over the river).
(The fish, needless to say, was fresh.)
Although we had a lot of good food on the trip, this was the highlight:
It was a veritable feast! Spicy Papaya Salad, Tom Yum Goong, Sweet and Sour vegetables, fried fish, steamed fish, several other chicken dishes, some sort of spinach salad and so much more… Mmm.
On our way back to Bangkok, we stopped at Prapathom Chedi, which supposedly is Thailand’s oldest.
All together, the trip was great– most of all because of the people I was with: intelligent, well-informed, funny, and fun-loving… And, as always, it’s wonderful to be away from Bangkok. I love clean air, trees and solitude, all of which were available in a-plenty this weekend. Saturday morning’s half-hour before everyone else awoke spent reading The Return of the King out on the boat’s prow with the rain softly pattering all around was, for me, an absolute manifestation of tranquility and contentment.
Yeah. It was a good weekend.
This morning was spent at the “United Nations Youth Forum on Millennium Development Goals & 2005 World Summit” which I found both encouraging and enabling. Read more at http://www.un.org/largerfreedom/.
There’s always this interesting temporal gap between when I write an entry and when I post it, due to the cost of internet access and the fact that I don’t have it in my room. In this case, I no longer need a toothbrush because, between the start of this post and its conclusion, I have purchased a toothbrush. So there ya go. =)