Well, I’m off to Thailand again on Sunday, with a woman I hardly know, to places I don’t know, to get up to who knows what. Should be interesting.
I wanted to do a trip that had something meaningful in it, rather than being just another tourist, and my daughter convinced me to look up the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai in North Thailand, which rescues elephants from bad situations and gives them a happy retirement. I did so and immediately signed a good week’s wages away to volunteer there for seven days. Boy, I hope those elephants appreciate every banana I feed them – I could have been lying on the beach at Phuket for two weeks for what I’m paying to be their servant… Sucker for cute grey wrinkly things, that’s what I am…
I went to the local hairdressing salon last week and got introduced to Ursula at who, as it turned out, happened to want to go to Thailand too. So we agreed to go together, if she could pull off getting a month of work and organising a plane ticket within a week. The travel agent worked miracles and pulled a return ticket on MY flight out of thin air (even SHE doesn’t know how she did it – technically it should have been impossible). The look of surprise on her face was rather classic.
Ursula reckoned she was booked up to the eyeballs with clients for the next month and it isn’t really done in her industry to cancel appointments. I told her that if she rang her clients (she’s a beauty therapist) and explained what she wanted to do, they’d probably say ‘You go girl!!’, as I would myself. And sure enough, they did.
Then her boss said ‘Oh go on then – if you don’t, you’ll always regret it’.
So we’re doing it. Who are we to argue with the Universe…?
I walked down the street today to post something for my workplace and stopped to have a quick chat with a young lady hanging onto a large backpack. Turns out she is from the Czech Republic, has been her for seven months and is flying out to Thailand on Sunday. As am I. ‘See ya at the airport maybe’ I said, in a smirkingly casual sort of way. That was right up there with being able to say ‘So long and thanks for all the fish…’
I then walked into the Post Office and while waiting in line I picked up a Readers Digest from the magazine stand. The first page I turned to had an article on it about rescuing elephants from bad situations in Thailand…
I can’t help feeling there’s a skerrick of serendipity going on in there somewhere, don’t you?
So – we fly to Thailand on Sunday, meander slowly up to Sukhothai and hire large black bicycles for 20 baht (once again, obeying my daughter here) to cruise around the ruins on, amble up to Chiang Mai, where I will introduce Ursula to the fine art of market research and buying things you don’t really need but would look really cool on the shelf, then go and slave at the elephant hotel for a week. We will then pop over to Laos and find a boat outfit that will take us down the Mekong River at a deliciously slow speed while feeding us fabulous food and displaying supurb photographic opportunities, disembark somewhere in Cambodia and visit the renowned Angkor Wat site while taking photos that not even the finest of National Geographic photographers have thought to take, then pop back to Bangkok to ensure every gram of our luggage allowance is fulfilled via more market research then come home again.
So let’s see how straight forwardly this all goes then.
Watch this space…