Monday, August 15, 2005

Thailand Ride



For some reason, Lek always insisted on feeding me too much toast for breakfast. So this particular morning I shared my toast with one of the ubiquitous dogs. This fellow was very happy to have bits of toast fed to him. I mopped up the drippings on my plate first to make the toast tastier.



Here we have two of my favorite subjects: plants and poultry. The area around my cottage looked like Mom's living room had exploded. The plants all looked pretty familiar, but here they just grew out of the ground instead of growing in pots.



Here's the vicious attack goose that had kept me from exploring the town earlier in the morning. He kept pecking at my toes. I don't mess with geese, so I stuck near the rafting place and our cottage after running into this guy.



The driver came and got Lek and me. Here they are. The driver is rolling up the truck sides so I can ride al-fresco, since the rain had let up by this time. Evidently a lot of folks make a living hauling tourists around, because these trucks were all over the place.



We had a ride of about an hour to the temple from the village. It was a beautiful drive. The road was a bit on the bumpy side but I didn't mind since the view was lovely.



A tour guide told us at one point that there are only about 4,000 elephants left in Thailand. I must have seen every single one of them because there were elephants all over the place. Here we're approaching another elephant camp catering to tourists.



My view from the back of the truck. I must have taken fifty pictures, figuring that some of them were bound to turn out nicely.



This shot of the river gives you a better idea of what it is we went rafting down! Imagine standing on a few bits of bamboo, ankle-deep in this!



This is a fairly tame stretch of road. Usually the ruts were deeper and the drop-off to the river much steeper. But this is a pretty shot. During this ride I often thought of P.J. O'Rourke's various writings on driving in third-world countries.



This picture shows how well the rural Thai people have adapted to the new realities of world travel. In the foreground, traditional rice paddies still being farmed. In the background, farmers haul tourists around in water-buffalo carts. I'm betting the big money is in the water buffalo.

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