All I Want for Christmas is You


I want to ask Optimus to have drinks with me this evening. I want to, and I’m about to, but as I turn to find him, he walks by me – flashes me the smile that started this mess – and rushes to meet the next tour group, impatiently waiting outside for harnesses.

“It’s better not to say goodbye,” Tiffany consoles me, as I mourn the loss of this love of my life.

Optimus, also known as Boss, is one of the leaders on our ziplining tour of the Chiang Mai jungles. Touristy (and only slightly overrated), The Flight of the Gibbons still manages to eek out a 9.5 in my book, and Optimus is only 4 points of that. The scenery – both animate and in, bumps up the score a solid three points on its own. Mix in the guides’ fun-loving personalities and textbook-worthy knowledge of How I Met Your Mother season 1, and the tour is 5-star.

We were picked us up at 6:30. AM. We drove 30 minutes outside the city and another 30 minutes up into the mountains. It’s a beautiful drive, nearly uninhabited and surrounded by jungle on either side. Along the way, they got us pumped by pimpin’ themselves out. They’ve been featured on the Amazing Race.

Watch Flight of the Gibbon as seen on The Amazing Race Asia in Travel & Culture |  View More Free Videos Online at

Once we arrived, they wasted no time with long safety speeches and packets of paperwork. A few checks in boxes and a signature later, we were ushered into harnesses. I stepped into mine backwards and the guide helping laughed as he pointed me the other way.

“Where are you from?” he asked, the laugh still playing on his lips.

“America,” I congenially responded. “What about you?” I couldn’t help the hint of sarcasm.

This received another laugh, and then it was all “I’m Cyndi” and “I’m Optimus” (“like the movie” – “no…”).

Here’s the (over-generalized) thing about Thai people: they’re objectively wonderful. Their sense of humor is all-encompassing and brilliant, and they pride themselves on loving people, food and life (not in that order). At least, the Thais I have had the privilege of meeting. Optimus is a Prime example.

Not only is he funny, but Optimus, I can’t help but notice – is cute. I’m telling you – put Optimus Flight of the Gibbons on your must-do list in Chiang Mai. The guides themselves pay for it twice over.

Once at the site, on the side of a mountain, we walked into thick bush, were clipped to a wire and pushed off the edge. Our two guides spent approximately 30 seconds on the walk to the edge telling us how not to die; it was a perfect amount of time.

The ziplining itself is fun – entertaining at the least, but if you’re an adventure junkie like me – prepare to be disappointed (admittedly – I probably didn’t have to tell you that!). The views are stunning though. When you’re spinning and flying over hundred of feet of forest, you can’t help but be wowed.

For 2 hours, we zipped through the trees while our guides took pictures, suggested funny poses, pulled and hung on the ropes to make us go faster and pushed us off the small wooden ledges just before we were quite ready. They know the thrill is short-lived, but they work their magic to keep it fresh.

At least, one of the guides spent a full 2 hours doing those things; Optimus and I spent 2 hours flirting.

It turns out Mr. Prime is only 21 (he’s a baby or I’m a cradle robber?). Tiffany, Alex and I teased him, and he indignantly insisted he’s so much older than his age – all the while striking rock star poses and talking about coming home late to his parent’s house. But my love never waned…

After the last drop – a 50ft plummet (fine – gently lowered plummet), we dropped off the harnesses and headed to lunch.

Included in our trip was a homemade Thai lunch in the small cabin at the starting site. It was, hands down, the best food I have eaten so far, which is saying a lot. They made homemade yellow curry, rice and vegetables,a nd I savored every single delicious bite. I won’t soon forget that meal.

It’s here, as we returned our gear, that my story of love found turns to love lost.

“It’s better not to say goodbye,” Tiffany says, her arm around my shoulder, as I mope my way to the van.

“He was the love of my life, and now he’s gone,” I mumble, crestfallen.

“I know. There, there.”

10 minutes later, we are at a 7-tiered waterfall, and Optimus is history: I’ve found the new love of my life.

I am a bundle of joy – a kid on Christmas morning – literally. I have a torrid love affair with my natural playground for the 30 minutes we are given. I hike to the tip-top of the falls, jump and climb the boulders and rocks in the water, take pictures, revel in teh spray from the falls and am completely at peace. I can’t stop smiling. This is the Chiang Mai I have been waiting and looking forward to; this is the Chiang Mai I came for. This, is a perfect Christmas morning.

I return a few minutes late, covered in water, scratches and mud. Tiffany and Alex are sitting in a gazebo, their backs to me, their heads together. It’s a picturesque moment and I stop to capture the scene.

In one morning, I’ve seen the heights of the jungles and heard the roar of a waterfall. Plus, I’ve fallen in love twice. It’s a very merry Christmas.

It's way too early. This is Tiffany and me in the villa while we signed paperwork.

I got over being tired realllly fast!

I finally got my harness on the right way.

The jungles of Chiang Mai.

Incredible tree. We are going to swing on that rope... and land on that ledge. Yippeee!!!

My best zen pose. Maybe I should practice meditating first next time...

Tiffany and Alex rockin the bridge!

The last drop. All three of us went together.

Our entire group. You can see we clearly divided - the serious guide with the adults on one side. Optimus with the kdis on the other. Optimus and I are throwing our best rock star pose. ❤ of my life.

The start of the waterfall. The second love of my life on this beautiful Christmas morning!

A goodbye shot of the jungle. Chiang Mai is incredible.

~ by C on April 1, 2010.

One Response to “All I Want for Christmas is You”

  1. bahaha! i must say this is your best entry yet. smart, miss cyndi, smart.

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