Day 26: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling Down The River

Today was the day, that Suzy, Duncan, Sarah and I, would hit up Pai river, for a spot of tubing fun. For those of you, who aren’t in the know, tubing consists of sitting on an inflatable ring, and floating down a river. Which sounds nice and relaxing, but for us, the experience was anything but. It started like any normal day, we got up, went about our morning routines, had breakfast, then went to meet the tubing guy for eleven a.m. The hostel that Rob was staying at, also happened to be our pickup point. So, before we climbed aboard the pickup truck, which would be taking us to the start line, we said farewell to him, and headed on our way,

We stopped at a random shop on the way, for those who needed refreshments, or alcohol, then, proceeded to the river. Upon arrival, we were handed a rubber doughnut each, and, fought with the unforgiving current of the river. When we finally got going, we attempted to join together, to form a beautiful circle of misfits. However, that plan soon dispersed, as it became an every man for himself situation. We soon achieved our goal, of keeping a tight knit crew, of synchronised sociopaths. However, because of it being a dry season, the river wasn’t that deep, which meant, certain areas of the river were too shallow to float on. This became problematic, as, every so many feet, we’d find ourselves stuck on rocks beneath us. Looking like some strange beached sea creature to any passers by.

Eventually, we figured out how to maneuver the four of us around obstacles, and, everything was moving smoothly. That was until I left the group, to find one of natures finest toilets, due to me drinking too much water, I found a nice little secluded spot as to not offend anyone, but, by me doing this, I missed all of the action. Back to the group, and Sarah, had lost her inflatable ring, due to her attempting to walk along a shallow spot. Duncan seeing this, swam like a mad man, with the aid of his ring, to catch up to it. Being the hero he is, he caught it, and saved the day. Meanwhile, I returned to my ring to catch the group.

Ten, or fifteen minutes into the voyage, and all was well. We were floating in perfect synchronicity avoiding any trouble, as we passed many Thai people working in the river. Until, I became stranded, after we passed a bridge, where, I uncontrollably drifted into some sharp rocks. With this, I started spinning faster, and faster. Turned out, the reason for my rotations, was down to the fact, I acquired a puncture, and was losing air from my ring, fast.

I span, and span, looking like something from the wacky races, only, instead of shooting down the river to the end, I remained in the same spot. With Duncan being the closest of the group, he saved the day, again, and, let me share with him. There we were, the two of us, gaining on the girls, like two aquatic predators. When we finally got to them, we regrouped, and travelled the most shallow river as one. Until the next problem arose.

Up ahead was a huge bamboo thicket, erecting from the shallow shores, surrounding it, was that of a rather strong current. We let go of each other, in an attempt to avoid it better, however, this back fired for Duncan and I. Seeing an opportunity to push us away from danger, I took it, this didn’t work, as the second I applied pressure to the hard wall of wood, Duncan and I, were submerged. Luckily for Duncan, he went underneath me, and resurfaced to safety, but, for me, I was pushed into the sharp bamboo below. The protruding bamboo spike, dug into my burned back, however, it didn’t break the skin, it simply dug in deep, and dragged. This left me with a lovely purple/ scarlet bruise. Duncan suffered too during this incident, as he lost his three pound, Ray Ban sunglasses, the poor boy.

When we finally reached the end, we had all had enough, due to the river giving us bruises. If we weren’t bumping into rocks, we were kicking them below surface, due to the river being so shallow. Nonetheless, we returned our rings, including my deflated one, and returned to the hostel, to shower ourselves free of the smelly rivers odours.

After we were clean, we headed to town for food. We visited the Witching Well, where we had some dinner. The river really took it out of us. We discussed what to do for the rest of the day during this time, and settled on visiting the canyon. Suzy had already been there, so, decided she’d give it a miss. However, she was kind enough to show us directions on a map, as, we had no clue where the sight actually was.

On our bikes, we rode to the canyon, which was rather exciting, it was a little way down the road, but when we arrived, it was around sunset. The views were quite spectacular from the top, and, some of the walkways were very narrow (too narrow at some points, it wouldn’t be allowed in England). We stayed here for a while capturing photos, and talking to a few people, but, as always, a crowd started to gather, luckily, it was around the time of us leaving.

We were back on the road, and heading back, as Duncan and I, were ready to return our bikes. During this time, Sarah and Duncan, witnessed an elephant, casually walking down the street with a guy on his back. I missed this sight, as I was too busy riding, with the wind in my hair, high tailing it back. When we arrived at the Aya service station, they were happy to give back our passports, and were also happy with the quality of the bikes (as, some places are crafty, by charging for slight scratches that already existed. Luckily, these guys were a genuine service). I am pretty sure, they under charged me too, which is always a nice surprise. With that sorted, the three of us, walked back to Darling.

We stayed at the hostel, playing drinking games for quite some time. After a few games, I decided to pop back to our room, to return an item, when, outside of our room, was a large group of people from Chiang Mai. These guys were quite rude, and, were our new neighbours for one night. They were a very irritating group of bikers, who apparently, had no perception of noise levels. When I returned to our group, I gave Sarah a heads up, informing her, that tonight was going to be a loud one, with that, she asked Suzy if she could share with her. To which Suzy obliged.

When we finally got around to hitting the town, it was quite disappointing, as there was no atmosphere, unlike other nights. Every time prior to that night, Pai usually had something going on. Regardless, we persevered in an attempt to find some fun. We went to a bar named Sunshine, where I met two new girls that were with the group. They were both from Holland, and went by the names, Cleo, and Charlotte. Cleo was the taller one of the two, with tanned skin and brown hair. Charlotte was a bit shorter, with long blonde hair. The group stayed out for a few hours, but, unfortunately, not much happened. After racing Brandon across a bridge barefoot, and cutting my foot, we visited a little dance hut. This looked more promising for liveliness, as it was filled with people. At the bar, some girl asked me to help her explain the definition of cheesy to the German guy she was with, I attempted, but I don’t think he got it. At least, not until I saw them kissing at the bar, to which I said to them, that’s cheesy. Oh burn!

We went to one more place after that, however, it was also lacking in atmosphere, so, with that, I grabbed some pad thai for the walk back. When all of a sudden, one of the dogs from the hostel joined us, he skipped along beside us, darting from person to person. He liked me the most, probably because I was flinging him some of my food as we went. Upon entering the car park of Darling, we noticed the sheer volume of scooters, these clearly belonged to my neighbours from hell, with that, Sarah and I headed towards our room. She grabbed a pillow from there, and headed towards Suzy’s, but not before being told “I love you,” by one of the bikers. I then got ready for bed, and, for the first time, since travelling, was able to starfish in the bed!

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