thinking about today, wearing my last dry set of clothes, listening to the thunder roar and rumble through the trees, I feel no anger or resentment, but rather, something almost resembling gratitude. Those memories flash in my mind in synchronicity with the lightning. Fragments.
Earlier that day:
I duck my head down, along with everyone else. We brace ourselves, like an airplane about to crash, some men remove their shirts. Not me. I look on. It looks like the end of the world. I look to my right. Audrey is smiling at me with fire in her eyes. I wonder now why I wished for adventure 2 hours ago.
2 hours earlier:
I wish for adventure as I trudge through the jungle. It isn't like I'm not enjoying myself, I really am! I'm in one of the oldest rain forests in the world, how awesome is that? I spend a lot of time looking at Audrey's ankles. They're clean. I wonder if it was a good idea to leave my phone at home.
It's so beautiful out that I can't even imagine my phone getting wet, but the program said that sometimes things can get a little hairy out there, so I decide to be overly cautious. I'm super excited because today we're in Khao Sok and we're doing a cave tour! I've never done anything like this before so I'm a little nervous.
I think Audrey's a little more nervous though because she's terrified of leeches. I will probably be spending a lot of time watching her ankles, since it's quite likely we'll run into them here.
Before long we're loaded into a van, tossed out, and into a long motor boat for an hour long ride across the lake. The lake is beautiful. You can see huge limestone cliffs jutting out from the water.
As we're on the boat I have an epiphany, vast and visual. I see every future of my life played out to the piano composition of La Valse d'Amélie.
I see myself becoming a master meditator in the northern province of Thailand.
I see myself back in Canada, owning a cabin and a boat, working with fresh foods.
I see myself in France, immercing myself in culture and creative endeavor.
These visions are so beautiful that it's difficult for me to part with them, but I do for now.
We get off the boat, eat, and get on another boat heading for the forest. The plant life is massive and towers above us, which relieves me, since at this point I'm sweating profusely amongst our mostly German tour-mates. The foliage overwhelmes my senses in a way I haven't experienced before.
In the cover of the trees we make our way to the caves. Over fallen logs, through streams, hopping on rocks. By the time we make it to the cave my sneakers, socks, and most of my shorts are drenched.
The cave is amazing, and traversed 800m. In its depths you can see only by flashlight. Its ceilings are swarmed with bats, and many of its canals have to be swam through.
When we emerge we are soaked head to toe. We make it back to the floating rafthouse unleeched, a reward for our bravery.
As much as I enjoyed it though, it was also very touristy. I wish for something unexpected to happen. I wish for adventure.
I change into a set of dry clothes and we begin our hour long boat journey back to land.
I feel a sense of calm wash over me. For the first time today, I feel quite comfortable. And then Audrey points something out. Rain clouds. Not normal rain clouds. Dark rain clouds. Dark, ominous, thunderous rain clouds. We are in shorts and a t-shirt in an uncovered boat in a vast lake intended to travel for another hour. I don't see how this could work out in our favour.
I can see the clouds approaching. The border where the torrent begins draws itself along the water, like a battle line. The tour guide tells us to use our life jackets like an umbrella. Again, I fail to see this working, but I do it anyway. I duck my head down.
It does nothing. We're soaked to the bone within minutes. Silently I apologize to anyone I may have wronged in my life. I'm only 27. That still qualifies as too young to die right?
Audrey looks in high spirits. I'm probably taking this too seriously. Lightning crashes. I cling to Audrey for dear life.
The second our boat arrives at the pier the rain stops. For now it seems we've been spared. In the blink of an eye we're whisked off the boat and onto a pickup truck with a roof with 4 of our German tour-mates.
The ride begins uneventfully enough. I contemplate offering some of my can of Pringles to them, now sitting in my wet shoe in the center of our shared seating space before deciding it may be culturally insensitive to offer someone food out of a dirty shoe.
Before long the rain starts again and I am huddled next to Audrey, wrapped in my towel, now the only dry article I have left. The Pringles are also remarkably dry inside its can.
The sky becomes dark and Audrey jokes, "At least we can't get any wetter." What do you think happened?
The rain's rain got harder. The driver's driving got more erratic. And I apologized to more people, plotting what to do in worst case scenarios. Audrey jokes, "At least now we can't get any wetter."
I've never been so wet. I was so wet I didn't even know how to feel anything else. Thunder boomed, lightning crashed. It looked like we were evading some unseen monster, about to swallow us whole.
Now - 8:40pm:
As I write this, the storm we worked so hard to escape has made its way to our doorstep. I'm now sharing this lodge with thousands of insects and lizards seeking shelter, swatting them as I write. But as I finish this story, and my beer, I only have one thought.
How the hell do I get from here to my room without soaking my last set of dry clothes, and my phone?!