Here are some more pictures of the Chiang Mai trek experience – aaah, happy memories…
This is James, a very cute puppy we found at the first accommodation site. He followed us on our walk on the second day all the way to our next accommodation. I wanted to give him a big fuss but he was literally crawling with fleas and engorged ticks hung off his skin, so I had to enforce a reluctant ‘hygeine distance’. Adorable though – certainly hasn’t helped abate my ‘woofiness’ (like cluckiness, but for a dog rather than a baby).
A stunning waterfall on the second day – the location of another invigorating shower and a very enjoyable scramble down the river valley with James as my shadow. I found a large rock by a shady pool and practised ‘Panis Angelicus’ at the top of my voice, singing to the dragonflies, which felt brilliantly surreal in such a incongruous setting. (I’m singing this song at my sister’s wedding when I return, so am trying to eke out practice times, without freaking people out by my sudden metamorphosis into a pre-pubescent choirboy.)
A rather pretty spider. However, I am now looking back with suspicious hindsight, wondering whether this is the beastie that munched on my arm.
I was back to my butterfly chasing antics again. I am struggling to find species identification information for Thailand, so will have to make up my own names for them. This one is the greater flicky-tail.
A rare spotting of the zebra crossing butterfly.
Close-up of one of my favourite Thailand flowers – each flower is a huge, red globe that sticks up out of the soil like a lollipop.
Melissa and I on our elephant, with our very grumpy mahout. I have had a very enjoyable elephant ride before, in Sri Lanka, at an elephant rescue sanctuary, where the mahouts clearly cared a lot for their animals. However, this ride left me with rather a sour taste in my mouth – the elephants seemed tired and reluctant, the grumpy mahout was too free and easy with his whip, and our steed whimpered in a way that I didn’t know elephants could do, as well as ‘vibrating’, whenever the whip came out. Hmmm, sometimes being a tourist is an ethical maze. However, I was reminded of the respect that elephants engender in me – their tiny eyes, packed full of (admittedly anthropomorphic) wisdom and kindness, their benevolent calmness and patience, their huge ‘gentle giant’ strength, their intelligence – ours had a clever trick of lining up the bananas we gave it on the underside of its trunk as it reached it back to receive more, then eating them all in one go.
Group shot, back in Chiang Mai, with our guide, Bang, being held aloft.