Published: March 25th 2008March 10th 2008
Sorry for the delay between blogs, but I was pretty sick for the last 7-10 days of our trip, and now that I am home (a few days earlier than planned) I can sit in the comfort of my own bedroom and update the last week of our blog.. which I intend to do over a couple of blogs. This blog is based purely on our day at the Elephant Nature Park...
We were meant to do an overnight stay the day after we arrived in Chiang Mai but due to me being sick, we made the decision to spend the first day taking it easy and then go for a day trip the following day to the Elephant Nature Park.. for those who have read my blogs from my previous trip you would know that I had already been to the ENP, but I was, and still remain, a huge fan of the Elephant Nature Park.
While I don't want to preach to people, I urge anyone that is considering traveling to Thailand to take at least a day (if not two) to visit the ENP just outside of Chiang Mai rather than succumbing to the usual tourist
trap of an elephant ride... Having visited this place twice, and having done a stack of research on the alternatives, this really is the better alternative... and your money goes to support an amazing project. Lek, the lady who runs the ENP has a vision to show the many touristy elephant camps that tourists are willing to pay money to 'view elephants being elephants' rather than having to subject the elephants to many hours a day of carting tourists in ill-fitting wooden boxes (never designed for the elephants individual back)...
Anyway enough of that, so on the morning of the 8th we set off to the ENP in a van of 12 people. Our first stop was the local markets to pick up a stack of fruit/veg for the elephants to eat that day. On the menu for the elephants today was bananas, cucumbers and watermelons.. yum! We helped load them into a truck then we set off on the hour journey. Along the way we watched an amazing video made by an independent filmmaker on the Elephant Nature Park, and the cruelty of elephants occuring within Thailand, which was really really good.
Once we arrived we were
taken to a room and given a safety talk about what to do and not do (thanks to previous idiots!! LOL).. then it was time to see all the Ellies... a couple have died since I was last there and a few newbies had turned up. Unfortunately it was at this point that I started to feel sick again (damn Parasites.... another story altogether), and since Rinna was keen for some video/photos of her feeding the elephants I chose not to participate in the feeding... and did the camera bit.
All too soon it was lunchtime... at this stage I wasn't sure how I was going to cope with the rest of the day.. I just wanted a bed... I piled up my plate, hoping that maybe just maybe I felt sick due to lack of food, but 3 mouthfuls later realised that food was not going to go down too well and it was best I just stop right there.... This was no reflection of course on the food itself... one thing about the Elephant Nature Park is that the food is amazing... I was just really sick... and so I headed upstairs to the lounge area, and
passed out on a mat.
Everyone else headed down to the river after lunch (including Rinna) where they got to wash the elephants in the river, and watch them play in the mudpit. Rinna even got two kisses off a couple of the elephants. I woke up a couple of hours later and decided to have a foot massage (there are a couple of local massage ladies on site)... hoping this would make me feel better... I was feeling ok by the end of it, so joined the others for the final visit to the river. Rinna had meanwhile been watching a National Geographic film of the abuse of Thailand's elephants.
Rinna got in the river again and washed the elephants, while I chose to stand on the bank and watch. Having done all this previously I wasn't too disappointed at missing out.. I was beyond caring, and looking forward to my bed! LOL. After the river visit we had time to shop in the souvenir shop and then it was time to head home.... we arrived back to the guest house about 6.30pm.
We ended up having dinner at a little Mexican restaurant around the corner
from the guest house called Salsa Kitchen. The food was fantastic. I managed to eat my whole meal! Afterwards I stumbled off to the internet cafe to do some email, and Rinna's plan was to go get a massage. I arrived back at the guest house about 2 hours later to find Rinna hadn't moved.. Instead she was in a mean game of cards with all the staff, doing tequila shots! LOL. I hung around for about half an hour chatting with Tim (the owner of CM Blue House) then it was off to bed!
A really funny (weird) thing happened first thing in the morning before we left for the Elephant Nature Park though... we were standing there talking to the guide who had just arrived to take us out for the day, when a lady approached us and the conversation went something like this:
Kristina : Reet and Rinna, is that you?!
R & R (looking totally confused) : ummmm yes
Kristina : Oh my god! I have been reading ALL your travel blogs!!
R & R : What?
Kristina : Oh my god! I cant believe its you guys!! I even wrote you a comment
a couple of weeks ago!
It was sooooo funny! How small is the world? It turns out that Kristina (American) had been reading all our travelblogs and had even used some of my suggestions (hence her staying at the same guesthouse!)... What are the chances!! LOL.... so hello Kristina, it was so lovely to meet you! xx
Anyway thats all folks.... I will get another couple of blogs done soon to finish off our trip...
Love Reet xx
There are more photos below