07:45am. The alarm goes off and we already start questioning ourselves why on earth we decided to visit a waterfall this early in the day. Surely it won’t go anywhere. But here we go, can’t show our grandmother-style sleeping habits to our roommate who is unaware of our incredibly lazy habits. No. We are young, fit, and adventurous people. We like to hike, yes, and sleep. But for now we hike, off we go.
09:00am. We’re on a bus. A cranky blue situation that miraculously manages to successfully deliver us to Erawan National Park. With considerable difficulty, it all but screamed and rattled all the way there, and every bump it malevolently threw us half a meter off our seats. It’s 37 degrees celsius, not a cloud in the sky, and as we make our way through the thick jungle we are sweating at a faster rate than we can drink. Our only relief is the waterfall we’re climbing. Seven levels of cool, milky blue water and luscious green trees drooping down their lianas like garlands.
We make it up the waterfall in under an hour, desperate to throw ourselves in the inviting pools that linger under the waterfalls. Stripping fast, we avoid the hordes of flies that suddenly take an interest to us, and all but throw ourselves in. The water embraces us like an old friend, and we sigh as the sweat and mud is washed off our bodies in an instant.
But underneath the surface of the water, danger lurks. As we sit, it creeps closer, slithering unseen between our legs. Then, seeing its target, it pounces, jaws wide.
‘FUCK! MY ASS!’ Myrthe yelps and flies up out of the water, clutching her behind. Everyone stares, confused.
‘SONOFABITCH! MY TOE!’ I scream, clutching my injured soldier.
‘OUCH!’ Linda joins the call, albeit a hell of a lot more politely.
We look around us, and see the little twats have surrounded us. On all sides, little evil toe-sucking fishies have gathered, ready to join the feast we have provided them. Our peaceful chill lasts exactly five minutes before we flee, fearing for our limbs.
Not to worry, Eva has found another pool, a little walk (and climb, and slide and jump) away. This one is empty of hikers, empty of fishes. Excellent. We brave the climb down, panting in silence, cursing the fishes for ruining our swim.
Again we strip, and clamber down into our own natural infinity pool. For a moment, everything seems perfect. The water is cool, the fishes are gone…
‘YOU MOTHER-‘ Myrthe flies up, clutching her foot and we scramble to find our attacker. More join, out of the dark, out of fucking nowhere. You can practically hear the little shits laughing. These are the evil version of the others, twice as long (about the length of a ruler), with fangs that felt like they were pulling your skin off.
We panic and dart out of the water. Grumbling, we make our way down the mountain again. In the second pool on the way down, we spot a couple of hikers chilling with their feet in the water, chatting happily. ‘Ha, wait till the fish get ’em, they’ll be out of there in no-‘ I cut myself off and tilt my head. Now that we’re closer I spot their feet and ankles. They’re LETTING the fish munch on their feet. ‘Free pedicure’ I hear someone say.
Oh hell no.
Well, whatever suits you, I guess. You weirdo’s.
As the end of the trail neared, we’d walked/climbed 11.2 kilometres through a steaming jungle, dehydrated and on poor shoes, we had our feet bitten off by monster fish, we’re wet from swimming and now sweat again… luckily our blue rattle demon is waiting to take us back home.
Another good day.