Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two Adventures for the Price of One

Almost two hours southeast of where we live here is a lovely province called Chonburi.  Chonburi itself is perhaps best known for the seaside town of Pattaya.  I've personally describe Pattaya to a friend as Thailand's version of Mos Eisely--you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.  We visited Pattaya in March with our good friends the Zufelts, and for some reason I never blogged about that.  And by "for some reason" I really mean "I was being lazy."

In addition to Pattaya, Chonburi is also home to Flight of the Gibbon--a jungle zipline adventure billed on their own web site as "a thrilling voyage like no other on earth."  After paying a reasonable price and signing your life away, you go get all harnessed up, they give you a helmet and a talk about safety procedures, and then you walk up this trail to the first platform.  By the way, I'm totally joking about signing your life away.  You do have to agree to obey their safety rules--and between you and me, when it comes to being up in the jungle canopy and staying safe, I will happily follow whatever safety rules they give me.

I forgot to mention, our good friend Scott was visiting us.  We had wanted to go to Flight of the Gibbon for some time, and we used Scott's visit to finally head down there for our adventure.  Good times, Scott, thanks for coming.

Anyway, we were having a great time.  The weather was quite nice, cooler than usual, but still fairly humid.  To be honest, it's not so bad up in the trees as there's usually a slight breeze, and we weren't exerting huge amounts of energy standing around and ziplining between platforms.  As could probably have been predicted, Sarah wasn't really thrilled about being up so high for the first traverse or two, but eventually she got over it and decided that this zipline stuff was, in fact, quite a lot of fun.  Ben and Maggie took to it naturally and had a lot of fun.  Anne screamed on approximately half of all the lines.

Now, those astute readers of this blog will note that the title said there were TWO adventures.  About halfway through our tour of the jungle canopy, it started to rain.  I have written previously about being in Thailand during the monsoon season, and those of you who have been in this part of the world during the monsoon season know what that means.  Massive amounts of rain.  Ridiculous amounts of rain.  The advantage is that this is Thailand and it's not so cold, so you don't necessarily mind being completely soaked to the bone.  And, as commonly accompanies rain, there was thunder.  Mr. Bass (say it like the name of the fish), the lead guide on our expedition, said that he was recently struck by lightening, so he was understandably nervous, and accordingly cautious.  We rappelled to the ground.  That's where the second adventure began.

We started walking, in the pouring rain, through the Thai rain forest to get to the next platform in the hopes that the rain would let up.  Oh, and did I mention that there was no trail for us to follow?  That's right, we were bushwacking through the jungle.  With the massive amounts of leaves and other stuff on the jungle floor our footing was much more secure than I might have originally surmised, especially since I was wearing my FiveFingers.  We wound our way around, under, and through the bushes and vines, completely soaking wet.  In a word: AWESOME.  Seriously, Mali and I thought it was actually pretty fun.  I think Scott enjoyed it, too.  Maggie said she liked it.  Anne said it was interesting, but a little scary.  Sarah said it was, "Bad.  Terrible."  She cried about wanting to go home at one point--I think that was right around the time we saw the huge millipede.  Ben appeared fairly indifferent.  In other words, they'd love to do it all over again.

The only real downside to it was that poor Ben was shivering.  It wasn't really all that cold, but that kid has no body fat to keep him warm.  It's a problem that I wish I had, to be honest.

By the time we got to the next platform the rain had stopped, and we continued moving from platform to platform along the ziplines.  Fortunately the clouds didn't break immediately, so the temperatures stayed very tolerable.  And I love how beautiful the jungle and mountains are when they are shrouded in the mists.  The downside of that is that we didn't dry out as quickly as we might have liked--on the other hand, we weren't sweating profusely, either, because that's what happens when its over 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 80 percent humidity.

The other downside of the clouds not dissipating became evident as we got to the final platform--coincidentally the longest line of them all, at 300 meters--when it started raining again.  Luckily none of us were dry yet.  By the time that Mali, Scott, and I zipped across that 300 meter span the rain was coming down just as hard as ever.  With the speed we picked up down that line, the drops felt like little needles, stinging our faces and eyes as we flew through the air.  In other words, totally radical, dude.
Mali, coming in fast through the rain.

I am upset about one thing, though.  The t-shirt they gave me was so NOT an adult extra large.

All smiles!


  1. That must have been an out-of-this-world experience. The difference between Sarah and me is that I would still be trying to talk myself into stepping off the platform. Good for her! Mother/Grandma

  2. Oh my goodness...our family vacation home is in Chonburi but when we are there, we never got to experience "life" the way that you guys are doing! Awesome...take it all in before having to leave for the States :~)