Well, it's up and ready for your reading (dis)pleasure:
Unaware of what was in store for us, we signed up for the cave tour. We were told to wear good shoes and to expect to lie down - all sage advice. Nobody else had signed up so we had the van, driver, and guide to ourselves.
Everything seems to be a long drive from the town, so we settled in to watch the scenery. Again, the cliff sides were magnificent and the entrance to the cave was right up against a great wall of streaked and striated limestone. Water running down the surface creates all the stalactites and mites on the outside, so the formations are like drapery, twisted columns and waterfalls of grey and yellow stone.
We got into a low plastic rowboat with room for about 6 people. The entrance to the cave appeared like a long open mouth into which we ducked as we entered. The ceiling was low and irregular and you really had to watch your head. The river soon opened into a vault. We were helped onto a small landing where a well lit path led down and into a number of ornate chambers. Colored lights set the formations apart from the grey walls and it was nice to see that the natural ceiling had been so beautifully preserved. I've been to places where vandals have broken off many of the small, hanging bits - which is such a crime!
[Image = Lynn and Katie looking at the cave's ceiling.]
This cave, it turns, out is a shrine. After we had gone for perhaps 50 yards, another great vault opened up. In the center was a large limestone bulge about the size and shape of a 40 foot boat. Rising up from one end of the shape were 3 huge phallus-like projections around which were hung various wreaths, necklaces, and other adornments. Offerings, figures, tiny shrines, and other signs of devotion decorated the mound and we were told that this is where you come to pray if you want to get pregnant - and if you are already in the family way, to pray for the birth of a boy.
[Image = stalagmites covered in garlands.]
Our guide, Kip, told us that this was such a sacred place that at one time a male member of a tribe would be ritually sacrificed after a big ceremony in order for his spirit to keep the place safe. Nothing like sacrificing a male member... in order to protect the male member.
Back in the boat, we were then instructed to lie back and make sure we were absolutely flat. Dolly Parton would have had problems in this space. We moved away from the landing and suddenly the ceiling came down to the level of our faces. The boatmen paddled as they stooped; one in front, one in back. Kip was behind me and he held my head in his hands. At first this was an irritation, but after a few minutes I appreciated the support. For what seemed like an endless time, we crept through the tiny space.
[Image = Interior of cave.]
Hanging projections were close enough to lick and any motion changed the position of the boat enough to make us hit hard. The air was hot and humid. A flashlight lit the way and the sound of dripping water, moving paddles, and breathing was all you could hear. This trip was certainly not for everyone! They said the tunnel was 60 yards long, but it seemed to take forever. I was glad to see light and the great exit vault at the end. We had gone through a path travelled by millions of people for centuries, through a sacred place… and we lived to tell the tale. Next time I'll ask to see the postcards!
After this, we went to the hot springs - another spectacular natural phenomenon. A series of rounded pools sloped down into a larger pool, fed by a cool stream. What a paradise. After this was another natural spring with more spectacular limestone channels through which warm water flowed in a steady, clear stream into a great sandy pool. No wonder these people don't travel! Why leave such a place??
[Image = Local hot springs.]
It gets boring after awhile. Phenomenon after spectacular sight after visual wonder after lunch after dinner... and the weather stays hot and clear. Some of the earliest humanoid fossils have been found around here and one wonders why they spread past this peninsula!
I just have the elephant ride to tell you about and it won't take long. You climb onto a platform, get onto a flat seat and ride around a path for about 20 minutes. The trainer or whatever he's called sits on the elephant's neck and with his feet and a metal hook, prods the animal to go right or left. It's a bumpy ride and I felt more than sorry for the elephants. The best part is when they pee - it's a wondrous amount of liquid. We also enjoyed watching them eat. We fed them bananas and it was neat to see something stuff a banana into its mouth with its nose.
Well, that's probably enough for today. Tonight we pack once more....and the adventure continues. LJ
- Her leaden prose style once again betrays her; I'm fairly sure that she doesn't actually think that vandalism is worse that prostitution but since she can't write, that's the impression she gives off.
- Worse, she cannot resist the unholy tendency to show off her vocabulary when it's not necessary or even welcome.
- It seems likely to me that Lynn doesn't understand that "Kip" and "Kop" are the sort of nicknames that Thais use when speaking to foreigners who they assume cannot pronounce their real names. When one considers that a typical Thai name is something along the lines of Somtow Sucharitkul, you can see why they'd do it.
- That "male member" crack made MY knees slam shut; I knew she didn't like men but she doesn't have to be such a bitch about it.
- Also, we're treated to more of her daffy ideas of human prehistory; it would take a bloody miracle to explain to her why people migrated to where they did.
- It would also seem that she's getting a bit jaded with all this talk of being bored by seeing sights and asking for postcards. Heaven forbid that her blank mind be sullied by knowledge.
- Getting her to realize that "those people" (what a wonderfully patronizing term) don't travel because they can't afford it and that they would find what we call mundane exotic would take another miracle.
- Finally, the elephant ride gave her a chance to remind us that she thinks that poo and pee are funny. A competent writer whose head wasn't wedged up her rectum could have had us spellbound by such a marvel. Lynn is neither so we get tripe like this. Also, she's so blasted lazy, she couldn't be bothered going to a zoo to see an elephant like a regular person.