I hadn’t anticipated seeing quite so much of Germany on this trip. In fact, I hadn’t expected to see any at all, but here I was, faced with the startling landscape of a distinctly Bavarian bum. It was forever in my line of vision, distracting me from my far more attractive surroundings, Erawan National Park, Thailand.
Sure, it was hot, but not even the Thai heat – the most humid, stifling heat I’ve ever experienced – makes it socially acceptable to strip off to a thong bikini, especially when your chosen activities for the afternoon include lunges and squats.
My travel buddies and I had taken the crammed local bus from Kanchanaburi (an experience in itself) to the Erawan falls, a seven-tiered waterfall named after a mythological three-headed elephant prominent in Hinduism. The entry fee of 200 baht (which I begrudgingly noticed was an inflated rate for farang – foreigners) was a small price to pay for some of the most beautiful views in Thailand. The falls are like a natural theme park, each level offering a different spectacle or slide, appealing to crazy youngsters and their sensible elders alike.
The hike was fairly difficult at times, and it certainly got my heart racing – although this was partially due to the regular shocks of seeing a pair of wobbling, white buttocks loom perilously close to my face as I scrambled up rock faces too quickly. Each pool provided cooling relief and respite from my unwanted leader’s cheeks, but she always managed to find her way to the front of the line, her now glistening backside taunting me from behind its immodest ‘covering’.
Cheeky macaques swung from branch to branch above our heads, observing us intelligently. I’m pretty sure I saw a few raised eyebrows as the thought ‘what is she wearing?’ crossed their monkey minds. Anyway, the canopy of green overhead was alive with birdsong and scuttling tree-dwellers, and the misty blue waters below hummed with the constant rush of fresh water cascading from above. This was pure nature.
At the fourth tier, the pool was dominated by a huge rock which had, over the years, been worn smooth in the middle, creating the ideal water slide. The climb to the summit was far more troublesome than the descent; the gushing water posed a slight problem as I attempted to scale the sheer rock aided only by a slimy rope and some thirsty vines, but I made it.
I hesitated slightly as I spotted schools of onyx fish lurking at the edges of the pool below. My only exit from the water would be through them, and they looked suspiciously like the fish I’d seen in Thai spas, the kind that enjoy nibbling toes. To make it worse, I had an audience of fellow hikers watching my every move. Glancing sideways I spotted my nemesis, the bum-shaped beacon waddling up towards tier five. I was having none of this.
Hurling myself down the slide into the fresh water, I squealed my way through the fish-infested shallows and practically ran up the track, overtaking the woman and her husband. There was no way she was beating me to the top.
And just to make a point, I made sure she had a view of my soggy bum all the way down.
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