We awoke at the crack of dawn with a fire in our hearts and a craving for adventure. It was our first time on the trip we were to set off into the wilderness of this foreign country. The place is called Erawan Falls. It is a seven tiered waterfall located about an hour outside Kanchanaburi. After packing a small bag for the day trip, we met with our host, who already had a motorbike waiting for us. We sat outside her small shop and she made us chicken and vegetable soup along with tea and bottled water. It was exactly what we needed in our bellies to kick off the day. After breakfast, we took a look at the motorbike. Yes, motorbike, singular. We figured it would be better to save the cost of another motorbike and while Derek drove, I could take pictures and video. To us, and to many Americans, this is a scene straight out of Dumb and Dumber. Two big guys with goofy helmets on cruising around a strange place. But in Thailand this is completely normal. Sometimes you will even see entire families of three or four on a single motorbike. We hopped on and we were off.
After a quick pit stop for gas, we cruised out of town. It is basically one road all the way to the Erawan National Park. And what a road it is. The scenery is beautiful and laced with rolling hillsides of green and gold that flow along the Kwai River. As we approached an area just beyond the halfway point, fate would have it that the back tire got a little weeble wobbly and we were struck with a flat. Immediately our minds raced to the thought that we are in a foreign country and the troubles we may face not only getting the tire fixed but finding a place to fix it. And of all the unfamiliar places we could have broken down, it turned out to be right in front of an auto shop. A little funny communicating, a new tube in the tire, and a botched attempt at saying, “Thank you, very much” in Thai that brought an eruption of laughter, and we were back on track. A few more kilometers and we were there.
The Erawan Falls are a thing of beauty. All in all, we spent the better part of five hours running around like little kids at our own personal playground. Following a short walk, you find yourself at the first of seven falls. The only thing to do is jump in. So we did. Nothing is more exciting to me than a trek into nature only to find yourself at a waterfall. We swam right across the pool and up to the crashing water and tested our underwater housing for our GoPro camera. This means, because it worked properly, we will be able to send some fun videos out to the world. Just as fast as we were in, we were out and on to the second fall. We found ourselves bouncing around between all of the limestone bedded pools and running water. If you stand still in the water, these peculiar fish will come up to your feet and begin to suck the dead skin from them. It is very, very odd, but feels sort of cool. And as we rush between waterfalls the trees are filled with spring-legged monkeys having just as much fun. Words simply cannot do a place like this the due description it deserves. When you travel and you see a place like this, whether it is a waterfall or a perfect view atop a mountain or even something as simple as a sunset, you know what I’m talking about. You just smile and think of the people you wish could be seeing it, too. A full day of hiking and splashing around and we scooted back to town.
As we pulled back into Kanchanaburi, we thought it would benefit us to take the motorbike on one last spin over to the touristy side of town and grab dinner. I know we are here and we should be trying every little delicacy, but sometimes you just want pizza and beer. And that’s what we found at a Swiss owned pizzeria called Bell’s. Hawaiian pizza in Thailand. Some dreams do come true. We threw in an order of spring rolls to balance it out. Again, it was exactly what we needed.
We returned to our guesthouse to relax and freshen up. The day had beat us down, but it was a beating taken with big stupid grins on our faces. And it only seemed to get better. We went back to the area where we had dinner and found a chill spot for a beer and the bonus of live music. Another one of the things I’ve come to really love is finding local cover bands. Hearing the Beatles belted out by a group from Thailand is something to behold. After a few sets, the band allowed a few Australian travelers in the crowd to play a couple tunes which was a pleasure as well. Next, we stopped by a reggae bar called Sugar Member with an adjoining tattoo parlor in the front. It turned out the bartender was from Oregon. He came and fell in love with the place and never left. I can see why. This little town has quite the personality. After a couple beers, a conversation sparked up between ourselves, the bartender, the local tattoo artist, and the local just tattooed. And then it happened.
Local: “(Muffled yelling and pointing)”
Local: “Shooter! Shooter! You the guy from Shooter!”
And immediate bursts of laughter from me and Derek. This was not the first time I have been called Mark Wahlberg in Thailand. And it’s beginning to happen more frequently. I don’t even think that I look like him. Derek convinced me that I may resemble the now older actor Mark Wahlberg, but not the younger Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Mark Wahlberg. Either way, it scored us a night of free drinks and some good laughs. Once we fought off the free beers, we jumped into a 7-11 for bottled water. Right as we were about to check out, Derek spotted the holy grail. Standing in the DVD collection near the register was the Mark Wahlberg film, 2 Guns. So of course the only thing to do was buy it and run it back over to the bar. We burst in and the place cheered and we threw the DVD on the bar countertop. Everyone laughed near tears as the bartender yelled, “Autograph! Autograph!” So I did my best Marky Mark impression and signed in bold black letters, “Sugar Member, Mark Wahlberg!”
As soon as we hit our beds, all the talk was about the timing of the day. From the time we began the day, to the moment we broke down, to the time needed to enjoy the waterfalls, to the night on the town. It was sure one of those days to remember. I really do believe that when you put yourself out there and give it your best shot, the universe collaborates to help you. All it takes is a positive outlook. We must enjoy the little things that fall into place because one thing is for sure and that is: the longer you hang around the more you realize how short this life is. Your life is yours for making. So put on your best smile and get out there.
– As Ever, J. Hart
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho