First Gecko and Bogie Gourmet – Day One of being in Thailand 2016 (contd)

 Checkout was at noon, so I bade goodbye to my room , which happened to be Number 747, a truly relevant number for someone having just stepped off a plane. I walked down a few alleyways and caught my first tuktuk of this trip to Hua Lamphong train station to pick up my ticket for the overnight train to Chiang Mai. The driver dropped me at the wrong place, so I had to bring back to mind the trick for crossing the road in Bangkok traffic – wait for the locals to cross and get in amongst them. The midday sun beat down on my head mercilessly as I meandered about looking for the agency that held my train ticket. I finally discovered them craftily hidden in an abandoned-looking building and got things sorted. Another tuktuk back and I arrived at the guesthouse prepared to do the waiting game until my train left. This entailed busking with my ukulele for drinking water – a deal I set up with the reception lady who thankfully seemed to enjoy my plunking and wailing. Continue reading

Tiny House Living – Life Without a Television. The Ice – It comes!!

P1040449 72A lot of people gasp with shock when I tell them we have no t.v.

“Did you see blah blah blah last night…?”

“Nope. Haven’t got a television.”

“What??!!”

I do caregiving for a living, so I stay for two days and two nights in a house each week. But even then I’m still not tempted to stare at the goggle-box. Unless there’s a good documentary on, or Bones – about the only drama I like to see regularly, because her autistic-type personality has a train-smash sort of fascination to it, and the other characters make me laugh. The other exception being America’s Next Top Model, but that’s because I like watching the photo shoots that they come up with. In between the shoots (when they’re bitching at each other about who should be doing the dishes or what a cow so-and-so is) I usually wander off and hand out meds or empty catheter bags or something else so much more fascinating.

It’s no hardship though, having no t.v. We do have the internet, after all, which can keep us amused for hours. Any question you can possibly come up with, Google will find an answer to it somewhere. Which is how I know that steam rollers don’t roll steam… Continue reading

Returning to the Banana-Hoovers. Traveling, Logistics, and Nightmares of Things Forgotten

Luckily, elephants are vegetarians. One of the Park residents, Pom, giving an ele a treat.

Luckily, elephants are vegetarians. One of the Park residents, Pom, giving an ele a treat.

My partner and I are off to North Thailand in three weeks to work with elephants. Specifically the ones at Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, North Thailand. Large, grey proboscis-laden pachyderms banana-hoovers abound there, as well as many rescued dogs, cats, buffalo, cows, chickens and assorted other beasties. They’ve had 2 baby elephants since I was there last year – Navann and Dok Mai. Will I be able to resist hanging around them like a tween at a Bieber concert? Probably not. Will I be able to stop myself from trying to sneak one home in my luggage? Well, that would be a yes, because we only have a 30kg luggage allowance, and I’m pretty sure even a baby banana-hoover weights more than 30kg. Will I be able to avoid snakes, spiders and leech attacks? That remains to be seen. Last time I was in Thailand, it wasn’t out in the jungle I came close to having a snake-related cardiac arrest, it was in a town where I was innocently waiting to cross the road and one fell out of the power lines beside me! Very funny God! Read that story here. Read about the Giant Killer-Leech Attack here.

And so, the preparation begins: Continue reading

Lizard Queen of Navarac – (Contains Lizards).

Tiny house living has its idiosyncracys. Such as being stuck inside a small space during very bad weather. A couple of winters back I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing this while it rained for two weeks solid. After several days I got to wondering if I should tie 44 gallon drums around the outside of my wee home, while nursing visions of it lifting from the ground and gently drifting out to sea.

A bottle of wine or two combined with over a week of solitude, and three nights later, I had written a poem/saga encompassing the visions that flashed through my head. It contains lizards because I’m great fan of them and somehow a collection of lizards ornaments and doodads has grown around me over the years. Funny what happens in a 17ft-long tiny house when the rain and the wine do flow…

Never had the lizards seen a sighting like the Lizard Queen, leading from the towbar thus...

Never had the lizards seen a sighting like the Lizard Queen, leading from the towbar thus…

Continue reading

Elephants in the Street and How I Suck as a Westerner and a Tourist

I am guilty. And I was ignorant. I didn’t know.

This baby is so hungry she tried to latch onto a passing elephant she didn't know to suckle. Photo by Lek Chailert

This baby is so hungry she tried to latch onto a passing elephant she didn’t know to suckle.
Photo by Lek Chailert

I went to India four times before I saw my first real live elephant. At about 2 o’clock in the morning, in Pahar Ganj, a place bustling with people and traffic and street dogs and rubbish. I was so thrilled to finally see one that I didn’t stop to think that the poor thing was probably stressed out by the noise and traffic, and also probably just hanging out to get off the hard tarmac and go to bed. Continue reading

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