While our volunteers spend most of their time in the classroom, there are plenty of oppertunities on the weekends to relax and explore the area. Below, current Thailand volunteer Kerry Tanney describes a trip to see some local attractions, including a dried-up waterfall and a “sleeping” volcano.
“Kerry, what are you doing on Saturday and Sunday?”
“Um … I’m not sure … maybe go to Nakhon Phanom?”
“Do you want to go to a waterfall?”
“Ok, sure, what day? What time?”
“Sunday … I think early morning.”
This is a typical conversation between Sumet and I over lunch, either on a Tuesday or a Friday, and exchanged in a mix of Thai and English, in I am being invited somewhere. By agreeing to go to this “waterfall” I clearly have no idea where it is, what the name of it is, and who else is joining us on this excursion. Later in the day I ask if I will be swimming at said waterfall, so I will at least be prepared for being wet.
Sunday morning rolls around and I am up early. Since I know how Thai people operate, I could be picked up 30 minutes in either directions of the meeting time we agreed on, which in this case was 8am. At approximately 8:45, Sumet and Earm arrive in my driveway and I go to meet them, eager to see what the day has is store for me. While waiting for another teacher (Han Yoat) I am informed that the waterfall they originally wanted to go to is dry, as it had not rained enough yet this season … IT HASN’T RAINED ENOUGH YET? I am confused at what “enough” is. Nonetheless, this day shall prove to be more interesting than originally planned.
We drive towards a nearby town and stop at 7 Eleven for snacks (yay!) Then, we head on our way to god knows where. First stop: a peace memorial in which the words translated for me were, “rebel”, “anti-government”, and “The queen built this.” Well, that sure tells a complete story!
We then get back in the car and arrive at the site of a “volcano”, as I am told. It is “sleeping” … so that’s a good thing. It was, actually, a really cool thing to see: there were about 4 places, where I am guessing the volcano would erupt, that were filled with water and subsequently lily pads and lotus flowers. Really neat looking. I also noticed that walking on the volcanic rock was hotter than over in the parking area. Quite peculiar.
Next stop: a frightening bridge that has been around for god knows how long. The concrete bridge next to it for the use of cars was only built about 7 years ago. What did people do before that?! Although the bridge is concrete, metal, and wood, it still swayed, and was really quite terrifying to cross…
And finally, we arrive at the waterfall (that was in fact quite dry) and walked around there, climbing on rocks and such for some time … clearly a perfect opportunity for a photo shoot of Kerry! I was basically positioned exactly where there was flowing water and that is it.
Then we stopped somewhere for lunch, goy dtiow (noodle soup) and leo beer … how very Thai. After lunch, we head out to what is actually a national park and a flowing, shallow river where we could “swim.”
As you can see by the photographic evidence, I was told to stand or sit in a ridiculous number of places during a short amount of time for my picture to be taken … typical Thailand!