When I went to college, one of my favorite things about dorm living with the innate sense of community it inspired. I loved the fact that while I had my own space, if I got bored or lonely, there was always someone around to hang out with. There was always someone to eat with, walk to class with, or veg out with. I was so sad at the end of that year because I knew it was the kind of experience that would never be repeated. Imagine my surprise and happiness when I discovered that that same experience is being repeated here in Thailand, of all places.
I have happened upon the best type of community. The built-in kind, here in my little apartment complex, with the addition of nearby friends, always willing to share a meal or watch a movie, or let me use the piano. :) This trip to the houseboats was an awesome extension of that community. Jaz, the amazing organizer/roommate, had organized a 3-day adventure to the Mae Na dam where people can rent out houseboats for a few days. Some people actually live out there full-time. Jaz knows a British guy named Tom who owns a houseboat that is way, way out in the dam, isolated from the other dams in its own little inlet.
The boat group consisted of: Jaz, Ruth, Sacha, Keith and his girlfriend Tik, Inna, Kate and her visting friends Sarah and Hannah, Anthony from Bible study, and Kelly, who runs a fair trade jewelry business. Oh, and me of course. Ruth, Kelly and I arrived Wednesday morning and Kate, Hannah and Sarah were planning to leave Wednesday afternoon, so we all had a whole day to hang out and play around.
Keith and Tik, Kelly and Sacha reading and Kate and Sarah in the background.
It was just like summer camp! We lay around, reading books, played some Scrabble, and did a lot of swimming and chatting.
In the afternoon, after Kate, Hannah and Sarah left, Ruth and I jumped in the 2 person kayak, while Jaz and Kelly took out the paddle boards and we went out on the lake. Well, after a while, Ruth and I got tired, so we headed back to the houseboat. But we got LOST! Well, not lost exactly, we actually ended up getting all the way back to the inlet where the houseboat was, but we couldn’t see that the inlet kept going around the corner. We were sure we were lost, so we turned around to try to find Jaz and Kelly and finally got back to them. They were like “What are you doing here? We thought you went back!” We explained what happened, and headed back. So, in the end, we ended up doing 2 round trips instead of just one, all because the land blended together in a way that we couldn’t see the break in the hill. But, on the upside, we got a great workout!
Me and Sacha
The best part about the boat was the cook! We didn’t have to worry about lunch or dinner, and it was all delicious. After dinner, we made a campfire and had s’mores, played some guitar, and just chatted til well into the night. I’m afraid we kept up the other people who were staying on the boat with our raucous laughter til about 1am. Ruth is just a crack up that late at night, channeling a Chinese grandpa to give us life advice. (She’s Chinese, so it’s not racist!)
Thursday morning we slept in and then Jaz made pancakes! We had a leisurely day with me trying to teach Ruth to dive, all of us doing cannonballs, flips and jumps into the water, and lots and lots of swimming and paddling, plus, some laying out and reading for good measure. I, of course, despite putting on sunscreen, got quite sunburnt. Sigh. I see skin cancer in my future.
Jaz, Kelly, Ruth and me on the way back to the mainland