No, seriously. What?
I don’t do vertical drops. Rollercoasters are great, but there’s a difference between carefully maintained track loops and hurtling yourself into a 50ft abyss.
So why exactly am I doing a bungee jump this morning?
As I travelled up the crane with ropes and velcro footstraps attached to me, I realised that it was best not to think about that question. Kerry and I had arrived at Chiang Mai’s simplistically named X Centre about and hour before I ended up jumping and sitting at the lakeside waiting area we watched as various people took their turns, the reactions a mixture of those who loved it and others who rode to the top, only to come down again because they panicked and couldn’t go through with it. In the back of my mind I expected to be in the latter group, so when the crane carriage hit the top I focused on the amazing view I had in front of me, rather than what was below. It was only when I hobbled over to the side, rope between my legs, that I became aware of the massive gap between the ground and where I was currently standing, but when the instructor shouted at me to BUNGEE! I let go without giving myself any more time to think about it.
Slightly deaf and more than a bit light-headed, i was pulled to the side and unhooked whilst being handed a certificate for jumping. I spent a while after that in denial that I’d just done a bungee jump, whilst also feeling slightly amazed that I had physical evidence proving that I had..
It was probably a good thing that the day became slower after that. We got back to the hotel at 1 to meet with Jess and hailed a TukTuk to a street-gallery-market hybrid on the outskirts of the city. After wandering the street for ages we were eventually told by a shop owner that it didn’t exist anymore, which someone should probably inform the two tourist information centres we visited of, as well as the writer of Jess’s Lonely Planet guide.
The shop owner, however, directed us to another street that had a gallery. As always we didn’t end up finding this, but stumbled across various other things along the way. One of these was Watchediluang Varaviharn, and although I feel like I’ve overdone temple photos on this blog this one was notable for the Chinese New Year banners draped from the ceiling. Visitors could buy one relevant to their Chinese birth year and hang it up, hence why the temple was covered in them.
We checked out the street of art shops after that, most of which contained huge, amazing paintings that I could neither afford nor transport. Our final art-based destination was Chiang Mai Art in Paradise, a gallery containing several floors of optical illusion paintings. Most of them were designed solely for photo opportunities, not that they were any less impressive for that.
We headed back to the markets after that, eventually running into the other ETAs and going for drinks, although by this point I was beginning to feel tired and ever-so-slightly ill so I didn’t have a great deal of energy left. I at least made a bit of progress with buying presents however, and just before we left the market we went for a ‘fish spa’. This involves submerging your feet in a tank containing hundreds of small fish who proceed to nibble at them, which is supposed to provide a weird and relaxing feeling. I, however, mostly found myself switching between relaxed, tickled and in pain during the 15 minutes that my feet were in the tank. It’s pretty weird that I’m fine with 50ft bungee jumps but can’t tolerate a foot spa.
If there’s one lesson I can give to you from this whole weekend, it would be that you should never book a 14 hour train ride that departs at 5:45 in the morning. If you can avoid it you shouldn’t book a 14 hour train in general, but having to wake up at 4am on Tuesday in order to find a taxi that would take us to the station in time made it especially worse. Still, having to spend 14 hours in the same seat in next to the only window in a crammed carriage that wouldn’t open was bad enough by itself, so arriving in Phachi at 7pm felt like I had just broken out of jail. Or, more fittingly, a sweatier version of Hell.
But I had a great weekend that justified the horrific travelling to and from it, and as this final Chiang Mai post comes to an end it also marks, according to WordPress, my 50th post on this blog. If you’re still reading it after all this time (and my stats imply that it’s at least more than just my Dad who is), thanks! I will try to continue to be entertaining in the future, assuming you all think I am at the moment and aren’t just reading this ironically or something.