Pachyderm Banana Hoovers and Buffalo Sludge-Boulders – Day 7 Elephant Nature Park

Two BFF's at the elephant clinic, Elephant Nature Park.

Two BFF’s at the elephant clinic, Elephant Nature Park.

Jodi had told us that some of the elephants could be drama queens, and on this last day I got to see it for myself. I was lolling about in the dining area having my morning coffee and looking across at the elephant clinic, where there was always an elephant to be seen who lived there on a semi-permanent basis due to her need for ongoing foot treatment, plus another elephant who hung around keeping her company. Every day at ENP I had seen both of them there together. Today something caught my eye – there was only one elephant (Number 1). The more mobile one (Number 2) had gone for a wander around the back. Elephant Number 1 suddenly noticed she was gone and made a hell of an uproar! She started bellowing ‘Come back! Where are you?!’ – presumably in Thai Ele language – and kicking up a right fuss. I spotted the other one come out from around the back, and I actually saw her heave a great sigh. She took her time wandering back to the front of the clinic then trumpeted to Number 1 – ‘All right! Keep yer proboscis on, I’m here!’ They touched trunks and felt each other all over for a little while then settled back into their usual routine of, well, eating. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a BFF relationship. Continue reading

To See the World in a Grain of Sand…

To see the world in a grain of sand

And to see Heaven in a wild flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hands

And eternity in an hour.

– William Blake
Mae Jan Peng (Full Moon) - one of the oldest elephants at Elephant Nature Park. A hole was made in her ear in her harder days previous to her retiring at the Park. Her mahout now puts a fresh flower in it every day to make her feel more beautiful.

Mae Jan Peng (Full Moon) – one of the oldest elephants at Elephant Nature Park. A hole was made in her ear in her harder days previous to her retiring at the Park. Her mahout now puts a fresh flower in it every day to make her feel more beautiful.

How to ‘Om’ an Elephant and the Boy with the Elephant Tail. Elephant Nature Park – Day 6

Chet featuring a fetching little work outfit.

Chet featuring a fetching little work outfit.

The chore du jour was peeling the husks off sacks and sacks of corn in the elephant kitchen. The silk from the corn must be removed so it doesn’t disturb the elephants’ digestive systems. For this, Chet wore a lovely little number featuring a net singlet, black shorts, black silver-tipped collar and a beautiful bling ring to suit. Gumboots completed this gorgeous ensemble, and his presence lit up the kitchen in the most glorious, if eclectic, way. More word games helped keep the boredom away while furthering our literary abilities, and we emerged a couple of hours or so later just slightly more educated than when we went in. Continue reading

Please Don’t Ride the Elephants – this post is actually serious.

BabyElephant 72

Please Don’t Ride The Elephants – A Serious Note.

Planning on going to Thailand for a holiday soon? Thinking you’d like to have a ride on an elephant or maybe watch elephants paint pictures while you’re there? Consider this first – the elephant you have a ride on may well be living a harsh and lonely life.

I’m writing this from the Elephant Nature Park, an hour or so from Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. My friend Ursula and I have come here for seven days to help out as volunteers. The elephant park was started in 1995 by Lek Chailert who, whenever she can, rescues elephants from unhappy situations and gifts to them freedom from what is more often than not, a life of slavery. Continue reading

2009 Thailand # 10: Tribal Rolls Royces and Flintstone Lizard Earrings

King cobra. According to the Thai people, touch one of these and have good luck for life. Personally, I think it's better luck not to go near one at all...

King cobra. According to the Thai people, touch one of these and have good luck for life. Personally, I think it’s better luck not to go near one at all…

Saturday – It got up to 39 degrees yet again, so we had brunch at the usual cafe then slept through most of the day or lay around under wet sarongs right in front of the fan, wishing it was a ceiling fan. We don’t know how to stop it turning so we get cool for a few seconds then have to wait for it to come round again – by which time we’re sweltering already. At the cafe an old lady came along selling little jellyish cake things that looked like fish roe to me. Gill was brave enough to try one and it turned out that they were a kind of chicken jelly with satay inside. They were tasty enough but the texture was pretty weird so we turned down offers of more from the cafe owners, bless them. Continue reading

2009 Thailand # 8: The Laughing Tuk-Tuk Driver and Fluffy Snake Fodder

Sign at Wat Umong, Chiang Mai

Sign at Wat Umong, Chiang Mai

Yesterday we travelled out to Wat Umong. Yes folks, we made it outside The Wall. We jumped into a tuk-tuk with The Laughing Tuk-tuk Driver who giggled at everything he said, so we figured either he must be a very funny man or we’re extremely amusing from his point of view or he’s slightly gaga. Or maybe all of the above. He had by far the slowest tuk-tuk we’ve been on by far so we got to appreciate the unlovely eau-de-exhaust coming off all the other vehicles as they passed us most the way there. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why he giggles so much – he’s high on carbon monoxide or whatever it is that cars breathe… Continue reading