The hustle and bustle of Old Chiang Mai has become a familiar homestead for me. It's the constant place we come back to after new experiences with home-stays, farms, long treks and elephants. Void of my family it has me feeling a bit homesick. Dodging the cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks has become second nature to me, and I surely am going to miss this city. The long alleyways that lead to our new hostel reveal the hidden beauty that this city had to offer. Our hostel is..interesting. While I am grateful for the hot shower and a toilet with both toilet paper AND a trashcan, (a huge luxury) I was given a giant terrycloth towel as a blanket. So that was weird. Not that we needed it though. Today is fairly hot as the city gets covered in a good layer of smoke and pollution from the hill burning. But apparently people from Chiang Mai go to Bangkok to find clean air.
We packed up our things and headed down to the river where we hopped on our bamboo rafts and started our 2.5 hour voyage down the river. Oh my goodness what a spectacular sight to see. I must have said a million times how this would be the perfect location for a movie. It was so beautiful that it seemed surreal. Going down the river was not only beautiful, but it was fun and exhilarating. After every rapid we though the rafts would break apart, and sometimes they did. Ama was standing in the front leading one of the rafts when all of a sudden one of the pieces of bamboo snapped and her leg fell straight through. Luckily she and everyone else who received bamboo rafting battle scars were ok!
We wrapped up our trek, said goodbye to our guides and headed back to Chiang Mai for a rest day. Tomorrow evening we will board an over night train which will take us to Ayutthaya where we will spend the next couple of days exploring this out of this world ancient city. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to post again once we conclude there. But for now I just wanted to say thank you to my parents and the parents of everyone else here on this journey. You all have given us an opportunity to grow and have the experience of a lifetime and for that we are ever so grateful.
Pop gan mai!