Never in my life did I think I’d be hanging more than 100 feet off the ground, held up my some rope, whether I lived or died in the control of a crazy Thai guy named Mr. Aussie.

Of course, never in my life did I think I’d be traveling Asia at the age of 22, either.

The past two weeks have been a mix of old and new, mostly the latter. A couple days ago, we rode bikes around the city, checking out the wats (temples) that dot Chiang Mai. I haven’t gotten on a bike in years–we’re talking around a decade–and was convinced it would end badly. Somehow, I made it through the day unscathed, albeit very, very sweaty. Yesterday I indulged in a favorite pastime–shopping. We hit up the market and I went a little crazy. A few vendors spoke to me in Hebrew as I passed, though I’m not sure why. I could only pick out a few words–“Ma nishma?” “Sababa?”–but when I looked in the direction of the voice, I’d find a vendor staring right at me. All that Hebrew put me in a mood for some Middle Eastern food, so I dragged a tired and weary Jeanette to an Israeli restaurant I’d seen. Oh falafel, how I’ve missed you.

As opposed to the past few days, today was a day of brand new things, starting with a successful trip to the consulate to add pages to my passport. In Seoul, this would take an entire afternoon, plus all the stress of having to courier it back to SEV. In Chiang Mai, I was in and out in half an hour. This afternoon, we headed out to the boonies for our most adventurous afternoon yet–ziplining through the jungle. (Sidenote: According to Wikipedia, ziplining is also known as “death slide.” Hardcore!!) We opted to go with Jungle Flight as opposed to Flight of the Gibbon, despite the latter advertising all over the damn city. We were joined by a British couple and a guy from Jersey–a solid group, I think. Our  instructors were two friendly Thai guys, Mr. Aussie and Mr. Boston (cue I Love N.Y.) who loved to unexpectedly push us off the ledges. No injuries, no deaths and an afternoon soaring through the trees. It was awesome and freeing and all, but to put it bluntly, I was scared shitless. I hate heights, and being suspended by some wire a hundred feet above the jungle floor is damn scary. The most terrifying parts of the course were when we would go straight down 10, 20 or 40 meters. Those drops were the worst because we had absolutely no control over them. Aussie and Boston controlled how fast we dropped, if we swung around and how much we jerked around before touching the platform. Scary as hell–but also exhilarating. Ziplining was nothing like I’d imagined–soaring hundreds of feet through the air at lightning speeds. But it was a chance to throw caution to the wind and jump from high trees, knowing I wasn’t going to fall to my death. That’s not to mention the killer view of the lush green forest and mountains further in the distance. And that’s not too bad, is it?

Tomorrow we’re heading to the border–a six-hour van trip–and spending the night at the border town of Chang Kong before ferrying across the Mekong River into Laos. A few pics from the trip thus far are already up, thanks to Jeanette’s patience with old-school Facebook uploading. I think there’s some surfing, some tigers and the ziplining crew in there. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Laos!

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