Cavendish cou­ple fi­nally get to ex­plore Thai­land

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH -

The water wasn’t ex­pected to re­cede for an­other six weeks. The can­cel­la­tion of the guided seg­ment of their tour meant they couldn’t get to Ayuthaya or Kan­chanaburi.

“We had planned to go swim­ming un­der the seven tiered wa­ter­fall and visit the float­ing mar­ket on the Praya Chao River — we couldn’t do that, the water was way too high,” Day ex­plained.

Hav­ing to re­book flights and pay for more ho­tels was frus­trat­ing, she said. But not even the heav­i­est rain­fall in 50 years was go­ing to dampen their de­sire to see Thai­land, or as much of it as they could un­der the cir­cum­stances.

In­stead, they man­aged to chalk it all up to ex­pe­ri­ence and make the best of a bad sit­u­a­tion.

“The up­side of it is that it was re­ally ed­u­ca­tional,” she said.

Day trips

From their base in the Thai city of Chi­ang Mai, they were also able to make day trips to the neigh- bour­ing coun­tries of Laos and Mayn­mar ( for­merly Burma). There, they vis­ited the golden tri­an­gle, once the site of the world’s sec­ond largest opium trade.

They took river cruises down the Mai Ping River, and Mekong River to cross the bor­der into Laos.

Dur­ing their odyssey, the cou­ple trav­elled by tra­di­tional songth­aew, an authen­tic but prim­i­tive Thai taxi; dined on tra­di­tional Thai cui­sine; vis­ited a tea plan­ta­tion where they sam­pled 10- 11 dif­fer­ent kinds of tea; had ring side seats at a Muay Ti box­ing match, Thai­land’s national sport; slept on bam­boo planks and board- cov­ered con­crete floors; spent time with Bud­dhist monks; trekked through the jun­gle on ele­phants; and saw home­made king co­bra snake, scor­pion and tiger pe­nis whiskies be­ing brewed in Laos. The aroma from the mix­ture was enough for them to de­cide not to taste the lo­cal home­brew.

They vis­ited the ru­ins of Sukhothai, Thai­land’s cap­i­tal be­fore Bangkok. While in Sukhothai Prov­ince, they took in the Loi Kra­tong Fes­ti­val, a Bud­dhist hol­i­day that falls on a full moon. The event at­tracts some five mil­lion peo­ple. They also vis­ited Sukhothai Park, a UNISCO world her­itage site

“We went jun­gle trekking in North­ern Thai­land with the Akha tribe, who live a very ba­sic way of life,” Day said.

High­light

But the high­light of the ven­ture for Day hap­pened dur­ing a trip fur­ther north to spend time in the jun­gle with the Pa­long tribe. It was there she met and quickly bonded with a four- year old girl from the tribe.

“I felt like I con­nected with her in­stantly. Her name was Yune.”

Lan­guage bar­ri­ers and gen­er­a­tion gaps proved to be no match for their mu­tual at­trac­tion. Day said Yune taught her their tra­di­tional dance and showed her how to weave with grass.

Day took such a shine to the young girl, she ended up spon­sor­ing her to go to school, some­thing her fam­ily couldn’t af­ford to do.

When the time came for her to leave, Day said Yune didn’t want to say good­bye.

“Through the in­ter­preter she thanked me and told me I would be very lucky. She would be a very good girl and do her best in school be­cause she was given the op­por­tu­nity.

“She told me she would never for­get me her whole life and she wanted me to come back and visit her.”

Yune’s fam­ily doesn’t have ac­cess to email, but the in­ter­preter does, and Day plans to con­tinue the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Yune through him.

Day said she’d like to re­turn to Thai­land in a cou­ple of years “to visit Yune just to see how much she’s grown and learned.

“That was def­i­nitely the high­light of the trip for me. I think the best thing in the world you can do is to do some­thing good for some­body else. And to give a child a chance to learn to read and write, that’s giv­ing them a fu­ture. For me that was re­ally im­por­tant.”

Sou­venirs

Point­ing out every­thing is re­ally cheap in Thai­land, Day said they brought back some Thai rum, which cost 150 baths (Thai currency) a bot­tle ($3.50-$4 Cana­dian). She also picked up a wooden fish carv­ing, some cloth­ing and jew­ellery.

“That’s about it be­cause you don’t have room for a lot in a back­pack.”

Be­sides their most re­cent ad­ven­ture in South­east Asia, the globe trot­ting Cavendish cou­ple have al­ready vis­ited the Inca trail and Ama­zon River in Peru as well as the Yu­catan Penin­sula in Mex­ico.

What ex­otic parts of the world are in the cou­ple’s fu­ture travel plans? “I’d like to see Greece and In­dia.” And if things ever get peace­ful enough in the Mid­dle East for travel, she says, “I would love to see the Pyra­mids of Egypt and the ru­ins of Pe­tra in Jor­dan.”

And, of course, she looks for­ward to re­turn­ing to Thai­land, hope­fully when the wa­ters have re­ceded and they can take in all the places they couldn’t get to on their first visit.

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