Up at Dawn (7am). What’s the game plan boss? We’re going to go to the waterfall Max was talking about last night. So we pack up, drive about 10 minutes, find a sign, a parking lot, and a trail. The dirt here is red, the trails are bare dirt about three foot across. We start off into the great beyond. Flanked by chrysanthemum farms we soon leave them behind and plunge into the twilight of the forest. Now I’m not in the best of shape. I can meander or wander for days without end, but a brisk walk better be brief. And with no hope of a Coke machine at either end, well I start panting pretty quickly. So the others shot ahead, and I wandered behind. Max is in shape, and I figure I walk about 25% slower than an in-shape-man. So his 40 minute walk should take me about 50. I watch for bugs, birds, and caught quite a few damselflies along the trail. The trail went up, and then down, and then up and then down, unending. Occasionally I would come across the pleasant smiles of my female companions, and a whiff of smoke from A. Then they would strike off again, soon out of sight. Only stopping to plop specimens in my kill jar, it took me 53 minutes to make it to the waterfall (A timed me). The others set about working busily, and I began stalking for dragons.
I get a picture of a chrysalis. A couple hours of collecting, we shift down stream and collect some more. So as to not delay I set out about 10 minutes before the rest and head for the vehicle. Up and down, up and down, slowly making my way through the forest I take my time. I get a few nice damselflies, some beetles, and a picture of a nice snake.
Time back to the vehicle: one hour ten minutes. I’m dead, and begging for Fanta.
The last place we went that day was a waterfall frequented by many people. When we parked we were immediately set upon by about five drunken morons. These idiots had just purchased two fledglings from a farmer who had collected them in the forest.
The price, 20 Baht, 50 cents American. Not old enough to take care of themselves, they begged for food loudly, opening their big beaks wide to show a bright yellow mouth. Without proper care (24 hours a day) they were dead. The stupid, idiotic, morons, kept giving us bananas to feed the chicks. They finally left to go pollute the waterfall with their presence. There wasn’t much at the site anyway. I collected a few grasshoppers and Ell (a good mother) fed them to her two new babies. We smuggled them back to CMU. I have not inquired as to their fate. Probably dead. This is what happens when you mix idiots with a farmer that is trying to get enough money to survive to tomorrow.
I got a few pics on the way home. Americans can be pretty boring, so I was going to get a picture of this truck (with standard Thai decoration), when its proud owner sprang from his hammock and posed for me! Plus, guess what this sign designates.
The next morning welcomed in a much needed day of rest. Up with the sun again, I wandered to the lab. Around 9 we went to the herbarium to meet Max. Pow, A, and I went to get books. A lab to be proud of, very spacious, open air, and well lived in. We met Max downstairs, stripped to the waist readying plants to be dried. In a flurry of action we went upstairs and began searching for keys to get into a cabinet to get keys to get into a closet to get the books. The keys were soon found and the books presented. Few pictures, the wealth of these books lies in the table towards the end. It lists the 2247 species of vascular plants known to inhabit Doi Sutep-Pui National Park. We get him to sign our books. Pow gets the best inscription, it read something to like this: This book is the product of 1. Hard Work, 2. Dedication, 3. Research, not some idiot meetings, seminars, or posters. Max CMU 4 May 2003. Max was not a fan of meetings (he called them "Beetings" with the emphasis on the first e), seminars, or posters.
I wandered home to work on my logs and A worked in the lab on the computer. Around 4 he came back and collected me. There is a very large temple on the topish of the mountain that overlooks Chiang Mai. Ell and DaNong agreed to accompany me on a trip up to it. So A drove the three of us to the tour company (Two trucks on the side of the road). For 60 Baut ($1.50) each they would take us up and bring us back. So we hopped in the back and were off. Now the road up the mountain is up. And windy. You’re in the back of a quarter ton pickup truck with a camper shell you’re whipping from side to side, inching further and further back. Passing motorcycles like their standing still. It was a ride!! Made it to the top. Lots of shops about.
One specialized in the big insects, and yes those are bats too! Most of our insects will go extinct from habitat loss, not over collecting, but that cannot be said for something like bats. Too bad. Saw the temple, pretty.
Got some pictures of the city which I put together into a panorama.
The truck dropped us off and we walked across campus back to the Biology Building. The symbol (mascot) of Chiang Mai University is the Elephant. What a wonderful mascot. Powerful, yet wise. Social, illustrating good family values. The young can be so playful, the adults so wise. Elephants never forget, you know. And as an added bonus, elephants not only live in the same Hemisphere, same continent, but also live in the same country, and region that Chiang Mai University is situated in! (Its not that I think using the Tiger as a mascot for a university in Missouri is stupid, I just wish they’d put up a big fence around campus and let one go free. It’d be a lot more meaningful, not to mention fun.) Topiaries run rampant around campus, mostly of elephants.
Dinner then off to the night market. Anything and everything you could ever want and more. People packed in like sheep over entire square blocks. Clothes, knives, food, music, art, it was all there. Hot and muggy, not a breath of air in the place. The foreigners were easy to spot, often not American, mostly French, Australian, German, and Russian. Most are under thirty, 6 feet 2 inches tall (males and females) and skinny as a rail. Lots of sights and sounds, then packing, and sleep.