I'm Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider. Born to be Wild playing in the background, miles of open road ahead of me.
O.k., maybe not. I've a basket on the front of my scooter. The throttle is wide open, all 100cc of engine is dragging me along at one hundred and.......twenty kilometres an hour (well anywhere between 100 and 140 due to the dodgy speedo). Not that I can see it, there's so much wind in my face. Who cares. Oops, watch out for the cat, and the dumptruck reversing onto the highway. Maybe I should have asked for a helmet?
The reason for this 'adventure'? I'd bumped into Wayne, the heavily-drugged Brit about two weeks ago in Ton Sai. He'd been travelling around Thailand on a scooter for 4 weeks, said it was the best trip he'd ever been on (not sure what context he meant that though ;).
Dawid had recommended the Tiger Caves so with a full tank of fuel (1.50euros), and a crap touristy map, I was off.
After about 40kms, ended up sharing this private little venue with a cool chameleon. Yes, they can change colour. The caves, well, they're about ?40? metres deep into the hill, through lots of little gullies. For once I'd a headtorch so could properly appreciate the scene. Has anyone seen 'Pitch Black'? It felt like one of those tunnels...... Still though, very cool.
Oh, there's a sign for a National Park. Why not, I'd still enough gas to get home.
The park felt like being in Wicklow, really beautiful too (i.e. like Wicklow). Had a quick wander up the waterfalls, and up to the viewing gallery. The viewing gallery was a horrific trek up a trail (I'm being generous here) for 700metres vertical. I think I lost all the water in my system (as you can tell from the photo). The view? Crap if you ask me (it was a little slot through some trees). But then, I sat for a minute to catch my breath (I'd run up the hill for a laugh - maybe that's why it felt so tough ;) and realised that you had to 'view' with your ears. I was in the middle of a jungle with a LOT of animals. Something sounding like a cricket. Something sounding like it was breathing through a tin whistle. The BIG flies. Something rustling in the bushes. And not a sound of any human interference (cars/etc.). Sometimes it's not what you see that reveals an area, must try and remember that.
By the way, that is major logging destruction in the background of the top picture, see the other on Flickr also. They've chopped 50% of all forestry in the past 10 years, hope they figure out that this is part of the reason people like coming here.....
As for the smell, well, running up hills and in through caves doesn't do much for your cleanliness. If you were on the boat back to Ton Sai with me last night, sorry! :)