Death by...January 26, 2017 in the United States
We're back from our epic trip! Now we're thinking about all the highlights and memorable moments. And moments of terror. We thought we'd share some of them now that we're safe and sound. We compiled a top 10 list of our scariest adventures:
10. Moped taxis make us mopy
We experienced ten serious minutes of terror without handlebars on two wheels! In Bangkok, some friends convinced us to take a moped taxi to our tree house hotel. They said it was fast and more direct than cars and metros. Marc and I each got on a different moped and off we went! Over speed bumps and zigzag streets with sharp turns. Without handlebars. Or a seat belt. Or a helmet. Or anything to grip except the driver. And those no passing lines on the road were only for decoration.
9. Hot stone massage
In Chiang Mai, we tried a variety of massages. But those hot stones?! No one said they were warm! And we wanted relaxation?! It wasn't some wimpy Western massage…
8. Marc wished he checked his water shoes before showering
At the Elephant Nature Park, our accommodations were basically “glamping” style (glamorous camping). We were one with nature. We had no choice because bugs were everywhere in the rooms. One day, Marc showered with his water shoes on and felt a rock inside his water shoe. Then that fist-sized(!!) rock started moving... and bit his toe! I heard him scream down the hall. Yes, spiders have eight eyes. Eight creepy eyes. Below is the spider picture with a wall sign for scale. I mean it when I say fist size.
7. Lawnmower on the highway
In Sukhothai our daily massage took longer than expected and we had a plane to catch to celebrate the new year in Bangkok. How bad did we want to catch that plane? Bad enough that we jumped on our only option: a tuk-tuk on the road to the next town. Marc literally jumped on it when the driver took off as we were still throwing our bags in the moped tricycle, before blasting at full lawnmower speed on the highway full of cars. And to say we used to be scared about seatbelts not working in the four-wheel taxi when we first arrived in Thailand...
6. Tree vine attacks
At Khao Yai national park, in the jungle, we saw a lot of wildlife. None of what we saw scared us: not the poisonous spiders (pic 2), giant termite nests (pic 3), giant ants, leeches, poisonous bright red, fuzzy caterpillars, centipedes, or wild elephants crossing the road and pushing cars out of the way. But those tree vines can jump out at you when you least expect it! They can knock you over if your hat is on too low and you aren't watching for them!
5. Tree branch whack attack at high speed: duck!!!
We thought those vines were dangerous until we got to Koh Pra Thong island for the turtle project. Then we saw some killer trees. We took several rides in the back of a pick-up truck to get between the village, pier, and beaches. I mean in the back of the truck, not safe in the passenger seat protected by windows. Down the dirt roads through the rugged savannah. Savannahs aren't exactly landscaped. Those low lying branches took many good whacks at our heads and necks! Duck!
4. Blind, giant coconut beetles
It's a lawnmower! It's a bird! It's a cockroach! No!!! It's a coconut beetle. They look like silver cockroaches with wings. If you're lucky, they'll fly into a wall, crash, buzz like crazy, fall over upside down, and flap their wings until they turn over, get right up, and fly into the same wall. Over and over. If you're unlucky, they'll cling on your shirt and just hang there to bug you. Pun intended. Because they are blind. And have no purpose in life.
3. Hornbill Hill
On Koh Pra Thong, we had to climb this very steep, slippery hill to observe and monitor turtles feeding in the water. We had to pull ourselves up ropes to get there. We didn't see any hornbills or turtles, but plenty of deadly dropoffs into the rocky water below. Better not fall asleep during the two-hour afternoon observations...
2. Beach tractor scares
Sometimes at the turn-back point of our morning beach walk, we met with the Thai guy from the nearby village in charge of patrolling the other half of the beach on his tractor. Usually he motioned us to turn around and go back as there was nothing to see, but this time he screamed “turtle! Turtle!” and signaled us to climb in his tractor. That is, the wooden plank hanging behind his seat. Marc almost got his foot caught in the engine belt during the ride, but if that didn't get you, either the smoke or the hot gasoline spilling out will.
1. Morning joy ride
For our first morning beach patrol for turtle nests, we had to take a motorcycle before dawn as we were leaving from the village. We quickly discovered that the only thing working on the dashboard was the fuel gauge. In particular, the headlight wasn't. So we had to use a flashlight instead. Good thing we couldn't see much around, we would later discover in the daylight that the bridge we crossed was full of holes and had partially collapsed. See the horror in my face while riding one down a sketchy dirt road in pic 4 (no holes visible though!)
Against all odds, we made it home safe and sound! Many, many thanks for your wedding gifts that made this trip possible. We got scared, amazed, educated, inspired, and we hope we made a difference volunteering and supporting the local economy whenever possible.Read more