Bangkok's chaos was nearly unequaled. It's rainy season now and the simple act of breathing is like trying to pull air through a wet wool blanket. But as I've made my way north, the climate has changed as well as the cultural temperment. In Pang Soong, I found a spiritually centered mountain village buried in the jungle at 4,000 feet. Cooler, calmer. We did the obligatory zip line here, Flight of the Gibbon. It funnels bhat into the local economy...a better proposition than opium, bush meat and, I'm told, sustainable. The Aussies and Kiwis are at work here, blueprinting the eco adventure model. It seems to work. Onward to the Track of the Tiger nature trail system. There is truth in this claim; a month ago three water buffalo were taken down by a big cat. But our gang didn't see any of those stripes. No, we were privy to myriad leeches that dropped from the trees. The cute little pit viper, green as green can be and with cherry red eyes, was a zoological treat. "Don't touch Mr. Ted," said Pang. "We call him thie 1-hour snake." Funny...we all freaked about the leeches, while our discovery of this venomous viper bordered on worship. Clearly our Western sensabilities are in question.

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