woke up on day 9 to the alarm clock of cows and roosters, but seeing as nobody was up and i could see the sun peeking thru the bamboo walls, i quietly hopped out of our hut and was treated to a majestic sunrise.
helene, nathan and i sat there in utter tranquility enjoying the moment when a kitty cat decided to curl up on me and take a nap. breakfast was served around 8am and consisted of coffee/tea, toast w/butter & strawberry marmalade, scrambled eggs and fresh pineapple.
seeing as everybody pretty much passed on taking a shower, we hit the road shortly after. the route we took was much more tolerable seeing as it was primarily a downhill jaunt. we passed a makeshift cemetery where we paid our respects, on our way to a beautiful waterfall in the middle of nowhere.
some of us took a dip, but i chose to lay back because they had homemade slingshots for sale! i picked one up for 50 THB and went to work on anybody who looked at me sideways. i just hope i can bring this sucker home with me on the plane...
after a short hike down, we then came to the white water river rafting portion of the trip. i've never been, so we were strapped in w/life jackets, helmets and paddles and away we went. unfortunately, we couldn't bring cameras b/c of the water, so here's a peek of us in gear. the rapids weren't too cr-A-zee because of low tide, but we still managed to get in a few pulse-pounding downhills along the way. we then hopped aboard a long bamboo raft that fit 5 and drifted towards our finish line, where we ate together for the last time. there was also a makeshift granite ping pong table adjacent to our picnic table, so nathan and i had time to fit in a few furious rallies. here's my last goodbye to welo, a definite opium smoker who liked making things (traps for small animals, walking sticks, etc.) w/his custom machete.
on our truck drive back to chiang mai, we reminisced about all the fun we had and all the places that await us on our current trips. i exchanged e-mail addresses with all, but we didn't want it all to end! so gerard, howard, helene and maria (a newbie from norway that joined our group on the 2nd day) all agreed to meet up for even more chang beers at the what bar on loi kroh road, a main thoroughfare for bars and restaurants of all ilk.
but first, dinner was calling and since pam was still full from lunch, i ventured out into the city to dine at bon kitchen, rated the #1 restaurant in chiang mai on tripadvisor. here's my refreshing iced tea, and i soon feasted on stir fried vegetables, their famous panang curry and a side of organic brown rice. the food was definitely tasty, but i'm not entirely sure how they received such a vaulted ranking, especially in this food-heavy region.