Thailand 2006 take five
I wake up on Friday 27th October at 5AM! Shower, pack, breakfast, by which time it's a more reasonable hour. I take bike back to hire shop - they didn't charge me any extra, but laughed at me when I hand back the bag of keys. On my way there I spot a whitewater adventure place advertised in the Kona Cafe called Siam River Adventures... run by an American guy called Jason - proper kayaks! 100% safety record! - Grade 4 whitewater rafting and they actually run kayak safety instead of just chucking a rope at you from the bank. I book up for a rafting trip the following Monday where I'll be accompanied by a bunch of Hawaiians (more hashers!) apparently. And if I like it, I might sign up for some whitewater kayaking too.
I then trek over to the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel (here seen through the trees from a bridge over a small stream - that shack under the bushes is how the other half live in Chiang Mai)and wake Hatrack up. I settle in to Hatrack's spare room - 'the junior suite' on the 9th floor - fab view - and then he treats me to lunch in the Dining Room - all a lot more grand than Eagle House2!!! And Hatrack is happy to let me have the spare room for free because he's already paid for it back in the UK - I'm indebted and thoroughly spoilt.
Afterwards I wonder around the shops and treat myself to yet another head, foot and shoulder massage for 150baht (around £2.17- it's 'happy hour' in the afternoon!). This trip is hardly cultural: more like completely hedonistic.
The Mount Ford school girl band were playing 'Sunshine of your love' and 'Smoke on the Water' - wow!
I'm not that interested in spending money on hash stuff but I do buy a cheap sleevless Tshirt with some interesting tie-dye effects. Then I queue for food (Thai style) and eat with two hashers called Basher and Eddy the Eagle. The tables are set out in long strips too far from the stage for me to notice much of the opening ceremonies, but I have a fun time with Basher and Eddy anyway. Later that night I discover a virtually empty indoors venue with this Thai guitarist playing Bluegrass - very pleasant way to end this first night of Interhash. Am pleasantly tiddly despite the weak beer by the time I get back to the hotel. Hatrack and I stay up till 3am discussing Hashing, Woodcraft Folk, Politics, (he is diametrically opposed to my politics but not at all belligerent about it) the World in General and we solve all its problems before I get to bed and sleep amazingly soundly.