Gibbons & Ponies

17 Nov

One of the days we were in Chiang Mai, Orestes and I went our separate ways to adventure. He went zip lining, an activity that I find terrifying due to my fear of heights, while I went with my co-teacher, Sharon, to ride Thai ponies, an activity he finds decidedly unappealing. We both enjoyed our solo adventures immensely.

The story of my adventure first:

Back in July when we started working together, Sharon and I discovered that we both had a phase of childhood during which we were completely obsessed with horses. We both had stories of previous vacations on which we had tried to drag our fellow travelers along on trail rides, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much. Naturally, when we realized we were planning to be in Chiang Mai for October break, plotting a trail ride seemed logical. Sharon gets the credit for finding a lovely company run by a German ex-pat, Boris, up in Phrao, a small area northwest of Chiang Mai where few tourists end up. Boris picked us up in his jeep along with Sharon’s mama-in-law, Barbara, and drove us up to the horse farm. We had a tasty breakfast prepared by Boris’ Thai wife, then headed out across the road, along a ride paddy, and up into the jungle. We rode for around 6 hours, saw some amazing jungle scenary, had lunch near a little waterfall/pool situation, and learned a lot about Thai ponies (they are of the sturdy mountain variety, smaller and more agile than American horses). We spent the night near the farm, and were treated to a dinner of traditional northern Thai food (I ate water buffalo! I didn’t enjoy it – tastes the way livestock smell, strongly). It was very interesting hearing Boris talk about being an ex-pat in Thailand (he’s been here over 30 years). Boris drank like a fish; he poured us endless glasses of Chang, and tried to coerce us into “wodka lemon”. He and Ingrid, our guide on the trail ride who is also German and closer to my age, were very animated and open. For me, it was also fun listening to them talk because their strong accents reminded me a bit of my grandparents. All in all, a wonderful time was had. Photo credit for most of the pics below goes to Ingrid since she had my camera for the majority of the ride – every time I thought, “Oh, that would make a nice picture”, I would look up to see her taking one – thanks, Ingrid!

Meanwhile, Orestes had his own adventure. When he decided upon zip lining, the cheerful and eccentric proprietor of our guesthouse recommended a company called The Flight of the Gibbon. Amusing title, plus he really did see gibbons! I attempted to cajole the man into writing his own blurb, or agreeing to be quoted, but this joint effort summary will have to suffice:

The course was about 800 meters long, with 30 different ropes or so. Cash was our guide; he was very cool, very energetic – he knew how to play the crowd. I saw three gibbons, they were standing on a tree, on a limb. The drops rappelling down the ropes were cool. Also a big fan of the zip line where Cash took a video (which his wife may or may not ever figure out how to insert in the blog). After the zip lining, we went to a waterfall “much cooler than the one we saw in Pai; I would categorize it as a waterfall as opposed to the one we saw in Pai” (that he was dragged to by his overly enthusiastic wife).

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One Response to “Gibbons & Ponies”

  1. Elaine McCormick December 3, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    glad to see you both enjoyed your ventures; the scenery is breathtaking, although I think I will pass on the horseback riding as well!

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