April 01, 2013

The Swiss Family Rhodes

I celebrated my birthday nearly a month late – a good thing too because I was in Burma during my real birthday and things were really rough. I discovered a lot about myself on that trip; but that is a story for another time. This is about how my awesome wife made one of the most memorable birthdays EVER!
I returned from Burma knowing that Aileen planned an awesome birthday excursion. The funny thing about the birthday trip is that I had no idea what was planned, where it was, how long it would be, or how to plan for it. I was told to pack some things and off we went.

We had a rough Saturday morning. Fortunately, the ticket Aileen received 10 minutes from the apartment did not prove to be a sign of how the trip would turn out. We stopped at one of our favorite western  spots for brunch – Butter is Better – and then Rimping to for a special treat of good western beer, cheese, crackers, and cured meat. All of this was for when we arrived at this surprise destination. 

Because of Aileen’s ticket, I ended up driving us to the secret location. We were worried that the surprise would be ruined because she would have to give me directions and signs would surly give it away. But, the entire 1 and ½ hour motorbike ride gave no hint of our destination.

We drove through smog filled mountains following a sweltering asphalt road. Clearly, dry season was in full force. The forests that we passed showed signs of recent burnings that reminded me vaguely of Yellowstone’s 1988 fire – black and gray ground with soot and ash everywhere, markings on trees where the flames climbed the bark. Everything was either black or dusty brown.

Finally, we pulled up to a humble looking entrance of what looked like a few wooden cabins nestled in a hollow. Just beyond the entrance were beautiful shallow pools and shallow waterfalls that split the property in two. The cabins were in fact wooden. But they were a 1000 times better than that!

We wanted to choose this one but it was too hot.
 Aileen chose to take me on a Swiss Family Robinson adventure. The cabin we chose was one of the 3 tree houses available. Stairs led to the first landing that housed a nice wooden table and chairs. The stairs continued up the tree to where our room was. It was a small room with a bed that took up nearly the entirety of the room. It came equipped with a separate bathroom with a western toilet, running hot water and a bath tub! Now that is something I haven’t seen in a long time!

Our little tree house!
Then continuing up the tree about 3 stories above the ground was a covered patio. Our place was AWESOME!!! I always dreamed of living in a tree house for a night – this was a tree house + some, with friendly dogs and cats, a basket to deliver things to the balcony!

The family that owns this small tree house resort is wonderful. The father-in-law is a retired architect who designed all the houses while the husband and wife team up to run the place. They also have a wonderful small restaurant that goes with it. While the food was pricy for Thailand (300 baht for dinner – ya I know it’s only 10 dollars) the dinner was sooo worth it. We had whole tilapia fried and served in sweet chili sauce - thanks to the big guy in Bangkok apparently (ask Aileen), Japanese style mushroom medley, ginger pork, and a huge fruit tray with mulberry.

All in all, living a childhood dream was well worth the 28 years of waiting!