even moses would have withered

the past 24 hours have brought us trials of biblical proportions.

we thought we’d head a bit off the beaten path for a bit before heading for the beaches after bangkok, so we decided to hit khao yai national park for a day or two. to get there, we had to take a bus to pak chong, then take a songthaew to the park entrance, then once inside the park, hitch the last 14 km to the headquarters and visitor centre. riding along in the back of a pickup, we were greeted by gorgeous views and patted ourselves on the back for being so resourceful. our original idea was to hire a tent and do some camping, but upon learning that the campsite area was 10 km away, we decided to make do with the basic dorm accomodation available nearby. the dorm itself was more or less just an empty cabin with no amenities, but we were assured there was bedding for hire from a lady coming by later that afternoon. so having settled outr accomodation (and having left without brekky at 5am) we dropped our packs and decided to grab a bite of lunch before doing an efternoon hike.

and then the floods began.

as we ate, the skies clotted and opened up, letting loose an unremitting rain like i’ve never seen before. torrential sheets of water, cascading over everything with no letup. they don’t call it monsoon season for nothing. we had coffee. we played 7 games of yahtzee. we read. we played a long and involved game of knock-down-drag-out chess. and still no respite. we spent hours and hours waiting for a break, and none came.

then came the famine.

we became so involved in playing our game of chess that we didn’t notice how late it was actually getting. and we didn’t notice the canteen closing up shop at 6 pm. suddenly, we were shit out of luck, as they say. at 7 we started to ponder dinner options, only to discover there were none to be had. everything shut. our one midday meal and the packet of crisps we consumed during chess would have to sustain us for the next 12 hours. we were damp and bored and hungry and it was starting to get dark. however the rain was finally tapering off a bit, after 7 hours, so we could at least head back to the dorm.

then came the plague of locusts flying ants.

apparently heavy rains bring out the flying ants. millions of them. like something out of a hitchcock movie. they hung in the air like curtains, swarming towards any source of light, sputternig, flailing, falling, divebombing. they were in your face and hair. they crashed into walls and legs. they crunched underfoot. giant toads sat int the grass complacently feasting while hoards of monkeys were acrobating about snatching them in midair.

but flies draw lizards and frogs – which draw snakes. and this is cobra country – really. suddenly it was 7:30 and pitch black and the short path through the woods to our dorm was looking mighty dark. having no torch to guide us, and terrified of getting lost, we slowly, nervously and loudly followed the edge of the path all the way to safety by the light of the ipod.

finally arriving at the cabin, we discovered that our bedding situation could be described charitably as “spartan”, consisting of a straw beach mat, a small wool blanket, and a brick masquerading as a bolster pillow. we turned on the cabin lights only to have thousands of flying ants bombard the screens, invade the floorboard cracks, and wiggle through the corner gaps. we were under attack.

a plan of action was needed, so we killed the overhead lights and turned on the outdoor flourescents as a distraction. in macgyyver-like fashion, we strung up the mosquito netting with dental floss and plasters from the first aid kit. setting up the bedding and widening the net, we managed to establish a small “insect-free” zone. and there we hid for the rest of the night – the only light my tiny travel booklamp, the only sound the patter of wings against the tin roof.

it was a long 10 hours til dawn.

we awoke to arguing monkeys outside, feeling not unlike the survivors in a vampire movie who’ve made it to see another sunrise. but with more overcast skies, the prospect of spending another day and night trapped by rains and ants was more than we could bear, so we reluctantly headed back to the safety and smog of bangkok.

3 Responses to “even moses would have withered”

  1. daddio
    May 19th, 2006 12:15

    I guess you will now have at least a little sympathy for me and my fear of snakes (and sharks).

    Most importantly, you got the story!

    Belated birthday wishes J.

  2. Anglofille
    May 20th, 2006 12:30

    I wonder how long it will take for you to begin laughing about this? Is it too early? :)

    I can’t believe you got those tattoos! Yowza!

  3. vanessa
    May 21st, 2006 22:04

    hey girl. Just giving a shout out to you from diaper land.


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