Monday, September 15, 2008


Let me start by saying the fact that I just had an amazing weekend, doing everything I wanted, for less than 1000 Baht (about $30) is just another reason why I LOVE Thailand.
After school got out on friday a group of us caught a bus to Kanchanburi which is a town up in the mountains close to the Myanmar border and it famous for "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" and the WWII Death Railway. We got in around 9:30 then found our hotel, which was rooms on stilts over the river. Keep in mind it was no 4 star hotel, but it worked :) and the setting was gorgeous.
We woke up early on saturday morning and rented motorbikes after breakfast. I'll admit, at first I was mildly terrified to ride a motorbike, but oh my gosh it is my new favorite thing to do. I mean in Bangkok I would hate it, there is SOOOOO much traffic, but out in the country you can just cruise and enjoy the ride. We rode for about 2 hours out into the coutryside to Erawan Waterfall, 7 layers of heaven. Thank goodness we all had teacher cards because we were able to get the Thai admission price of 40 Baht instead of the tourist price of 200 baht. After eating a delicious lunch of chicken on a stick and sticky rice we set off on our hike. Erawan falls is made of 7 main tiers and it's about 4 km to the top tier. The first tier I'll admit is pretty amazing and that's where most people choose to stop. It has a large pool with a shallow waterfall that you can stand underneath, and standing underneath the waterfall is pretty much all we did other than swim through the water in a panic. See, the pool was filled with HUGE nibbling fish. If you stood anywhere for to long the curious fish would come up and peck at your legs. It wasn't a preferable feeling.
Since we still had 6 more tiers to get to we didn't spend much time at the first tier. The second tier was beautiful. It was a pretty tall waterfall that just looked majestic. The 4th tier was the next falls we stopped at and decided to swim again. the presence of fish did keep us standing on the rocks for awhile, prepared to jump in but to scared to do it. We actually counted to three a couple times before Ruth finally slid in. The theory we came up with was that is we flail as much as possible the Fish will just swim away from us, so with much flailing and great speed we swam across the pool to some rocks on the other side. I did not get nibbled by one fish that time. The coolest this about this waterfall though was it had a smooth rock that you could slide down into the pool. We had a good time going up and down ( and slipping on other rocks in the process. I fell so many times on saturday, I'm covered with cuts and bruises now but oh well, thats the price you pay). I loved how in this pool also, that the Thai people weren't getting in and swimming. They settled for standing on the side and watching and cheering and taking pictures. Hey, I didn't know I joined the circus!
The 5th tier of the waterfall was absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to swim again but if we were going to make it to the 7th tier before they park "men" (I wouldn't quite call the rangers or anything like that) told us to head back down we were going to have to press on. When we reached the 6th tier, Rin, Tyler and Me decided to actually climb up the waterfall, and it was quite an adventure. We saw so many gorgeous pools and little falls that we would have never seen otherwise. I didn't have my camera with me but I remember it all so well :)
By the time we reached the seventh pool the water felt SO amazing. Nice and fresh and cool and no nibbling fish. I think that tier is a little to high for them to get to.
By the time we got back down to the parking lot it was already 5, so we ended up riding back to Kanchanaburi a lot of the way in the dark. Partway back some split off to go to another town because they were doing a race on sunday morning, then Heidi and Heidi wanted to head back to GES that night, so that left only, Me, Ruth, Bridget and Tyler in Kanchanaburi. After getting dinner we rode around trying to find the night market. It took us awhile and we got lost a few times but we finally found it just before it closed.
Because we had the bikes until 10:30 the next morning we decided to get up early again and ride around to see more. Our first stop was the iconic River Kwai Bridge, then we headed out into the countryside just following signs to see where they would take us. What we found was a cave, a Buddha cave to be exact (but really what caves in Asia dont have buddhas in them???). It was located on a mountain right next to a country monastery. We had to climb 6 million stairs, or what felt like 6 million stairs after the day we had before to get up to it, and by the time we reached the cave we were all red faced and sweaty. It was probably one of the biggest caves I've been in, and definitely to stinkiest. oh it smelled bad. There were buddhas everywhere of course, perched randomly on rocks all over the cave and then on one big alter at the front.
Because we were running short on time and were hungry for breakfast, the cave is where our adventure ended and we turned around.
the last exciting point of our Kanchanaburi adventure was when we almost got on a bus to Myanmar because it was in the same spot that a Bangkok bus parks at. If the man had told us the ticket cost 100 Baht we would have been on that bus no questions asked and would have been mighty confused when we were left off at the Myanmar border instead of in Bangkok, but thankfully he said 160 Baht so that caused us to pause for a moment and ask a few more questions, straightening out that that was really not the bus we wanted.

Today it was back to teaching, but it's a whole new world to me. Today was the first day of a spilt grade 2, so I only had 12 students. Gosh I didn't realize I was being tortured for the last 3 months. Today was like cake, I loved it! Although I am still very sad about some of the student that aren't in my class anymore, at least I still have them for Science and Computers.
Now we'll see how the rest of the week goes, lets see if it can keep going so well :)

Also, I'm having issues uploading photos so here are some links to my facebook albums. I'll put a few of my more recent ones up for your visual enjoyment.

Kanchanaburi pictures
random pictures from my life here
more random pictures from my life here

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