Monday, November 3, 2008

Khao Sok Rainforest

We had tons of fun in the Khao Sok Rainforest last week. The town was incredibly picturesque, surrounded by limestone karsts and teeming with wildlife. "Teeming" usually implies bugs and yes, there were plenty. However, we were fortunate to stay in a very well-sealed place and only had to deal with the mosquitos and leeches (or "leep" as our guide said) outdoors. Since neither of us is really comfortable wrangling snakes or wrestling tigers, we decided to get a guide for our trek - hopefully someone who would carry a really big stick.

As it turned out, our guide, Kim, did not carry a stick, but he did carry a serious knife, and he knew how to use it. He sliced into some bamboo and fashioned a bamboo straw so we could drink fresh water right out of the stalk! The water was delicious and slightly bamboo-infused. Ian and I have imagined this would make a great table presentation at an upscale Asian fusion restaurant. Check out the bamboo cups he made for us so we could drink tea after lunch (he boiled the water over a bamboo fire):

While lazing about by the waterfall, enjoying our lunch and fresh fruit, we witnessed Kim cut down some bushes, clean off some vines, and then swing from said vines over the river, cigarette in mouth and knife in hand. He also used his knife to make some great bamboo whistles for us, which also functioned as percussion instruments. Sadly, we won't be bringing you any bamboo band videos anytime soon, as our whistles were cracked by morning.

We didn't get to see any tigers or snakes, but Kim more than paid for himself by chasing down all sorts of bugs and lizards so we could see them up close (see Ian's upcoming post). Other fun rainforest activities included Tarzan-style vine swinging:

and porch-style vine swinging:

Check out our dorky outfits in that last photo. We thought we were so smart to wear tall socks and long pants on this trek. Kim approved of the tall socks but not the long pants, as it would make it harder to spot leeches on our legs. This rolled-up pant leg and tall sock combo will be seen all over the runways in Paris and Milan this spring, guranteed.

More rainforest scenery:

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