At six in the morning I wake up to the sounds of people walking along the bamboo beside my head. I had chosen a bed right next to the door for just this reason. I wanted to make sure that I would wake up whenever the earliest others started to stir. I would not miss the sun rise over the mountain.
And I did not. My plan? A great success. The three French girls were all standing on the porch when I dragged myself out. The sky was glowing orange, and the mists in the valleys created depth perception through the receding gradients of hills. The morning was beautiful, as the sun pulled into the sky, casting warm light on the people, places, and piggies running around. Off towards the fire from last night's celebration little pops could be heard starting up once more. No doubt another little child is trying to blow off a few fingers.
The drums start up again.
They must have stopped. I know they must have – but two hours earlier they were going strong. Did they take a forty five minute nap to recuperate? Enough of this. With the sun high in the sky, I went back to sleep.
The next time I heard a stampede of feet it was my call for breakfast. Which was lovely and delicious. Then... time to head back down the hill. If it took three hours coming up, well it wasn't going to take that much less heading down.
The steps were not carved nearly as well as they should have been, and the sound of slipping feet behind me was terrifying. I would not fall on my own, but being bowled over by someone behind me? That was not the best way to start a day.
An hour into the walk we ended up at another waterfall. And as much as I wanted to jump into it and splash around, I had learned from yesterday. The next hour and a half of hiking would not be a great delight after soaking in the freezing water. So with a sigh I stayed on the rocks looking at the water cascading down the cliff face.
More jungle, the likes of which I'd never seen before – but quickly accepted as a normal part of the scenery (easy adaption being something that I think really detracts from my travel experience, as nothing stays “magical” for long.)
And then we were at the bottom, and at the river. It was here that our group of ten would split into teams of five and board white water rafts. My helmet hardly fit, and I questioned the safety of the life jacket. But this is Thailand and speaking up will do you no favours. So mouth shut, I learned the five commands: forward, backward, all left, all right, stop. And then into the boat.
The water was low, and so the river was only a class 2, as opposed to the class 5 we were told it becomes in the summer's rainy season. A few times we were trapped on the rocks, but more often than not we were heading down at a good clip. Passing the elephants tramping through the bush on a safari was quite the moment as well. Seeing the world from a different perspective can change everything. My mind was dragged back to the river raft section of Jurassic Park (the novel – in the movie that ride wasn't yet complete. Although they created said ride at one of the Universal Studios. The one in Hollywood... I'll be in Hollywood this March! I must go! I must visit Jurassic Park! My god, why have I not thought of this before?! research... research... research... No! The ride is closed for refurbishment! Surely it will be nice and furbished by mid-March, right?!)
Just take a moment to appreciate all that I've seen, and all that I will see – and it's Jurassic Park I'm worried about missing out on. Well, at least it's clouding the very real fear that Machu Picchu will still be closed when I am supposed to be visiting it.
At one point we stopped to swim from our rafts. I may have swam too far into the current. The less said about that the better.
And then we finished our float down the river on a bamboo raft which rested nicely about two inches under the waters surface. We polled ourselves along, like a giant flat macorro. And then ended our journey, and headed back for the city.
It was a fantastic way to spend two days, and very inexpensive as well. It is highly recommended for anyone planning to visit this city. As much fun as temples are day after day, this is a beautiful way to break away from that.
When I returned I was knackered, and settled down to rest and relax and comfortably do nothing. Perfect.
It should also be noted that I've started reading Red Rabbit now – Shopaholic has been returned to the wild.