Waking up to cool drops of water hitting my face may have been the nicest part of the trip. The day had been quite hot and the train was extremely humid. It was just past midnight so that meant I'd been sleeping for roughly 30 minutes. When I opened my eyes I noticed that the car was completely swarming with insects, primarily little gnats, mosquitos, dragon flies and crane flies. After being freezing cold in the A/C car on the way up to Chiang Mai I decided to travel 2nd class fan car not particularly thinking through the logistics of the situation.
I let out a yell of joy as we swam down the rapids, having just jumped out of the raft on a relatively calmer part of the river. The scenery was unbelievable and we were swimming down a white water river nestled into a steep, lush, green valley in north west Thailand roughly 50 kilometres north of Chiang Mai and our trip was just about over. We'd ridden and bathed elephants, drank Thai whiskey, eaten sticky bamboo rice with the Mahouts (elephant trainers), swam in water falls, and now white water rafting back towards Chiang Mai.
My alarm clock was buzzing in my ear, I rolled over and shut it off. It was 6:30am and I needed to head out to catch the 8:30 train to Chiang Mai. Had a shower and packed my things and 15 minutes later I was on a tuk-tuk to the nearest metro station. I love the metro system in Bangkok, it's fast, clean, and efficient, more so than the metro systems in many other more "western" cities I've been to. I'm sure the fact that the "skytrain" was modeled after the bombardier version used in Vancouver gives me an unconscious comfort helps.
We arrived in Thailand safe and sound almost exactly three weeks ago. Amazing how time flies! We spent our first week in Bangkok shopping for clothes (since we brought almost nothing here) and seeing parts of the city that we hadn't explored last time we were here. Bangkok is really an amazing city, insanely busy, with delicious street food everywhere, and amazing (and quite clean) public transport.
I've never been very skilled at learning languages (well, non-computer languages). I "studied" French for seven years in elementary and high school, the end of which I had memorized a few words for different types of clothes and body parts, how to conjugate verbs, and how to ask to go to the toilet, s'il vous plait. After seven years I don't think I could speak a complete sentence. In elementary school I was "diagnosed" with having some kind of auditory processing problems which means that it supposedly takes my brain longer to turn raw sounds into meaning. In grade 5 I even got a detention for not being able to respond to a phrase from my teacher that I really should have known (I actually did know the answer, I was just too afraid to speak). But it was about this time that I completely gave up all hope of ever being able to learn a new language.