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Published: April 16th 2007
How wet you get on a short trip to the shop Kris:
Us and two elephant mahout volunteers, Gillian and Becky, during Songkran in Pattaya
The time has finally arrived for us to sadly leave the elephant camp and move on to learning to teach English to young Thai kids. This blog is about our (sniff) finally week with the big guys in gray...
Wet and slippery New Year (number 3)
We got back to Pattaya from Cambodia around the beginning of the week long Songkran Festival - Thai new year. Bizarrely, since we left England in November this is the 3rd new year we've celebrated. We did that one in December in Singapore...then we had Chinese new year in Pattaya...now it's Thai new year! I have a feeling that Thai's just like celebrating really. Which is fair enough.
Anyway, Thai new year involves water. Lots of it. Its something to do with washing away all the bad stuff to start the new year anew. This is taken very literally. People throw water all over you. For days. Using a variety of creative methods, some just trickle abit on your back. Others attack you with supersoakers and water balloons. Some throw whole tubs and buckets of water all over you. Groups of people stand by the side of the road outside their houses
and bars and throw water over passers by, in cars or on foot. And whole families pack into the back of pick up trucks and drive around throwing water over people. And this lasts for days. Needless to say we spent the last few days in Pattaya very wet.
As part of the Songkran celebrations we decorated the elephants at the camp. This was lots of fun, we got to draw all over them in chalk and they do make very good large canvasses. They seem to quite like it too, I guess it feels alot like being stroaked! See the photos for some of our creative acheivements!
We spent one night over Songkran staying over at the elephant camp. We have done it once before, and although its not the ritz, its fun and an increadible experience. We stayed in one of the bamboo mahout houses where we slept on the floor. We had a fan and a mosquito net so it was ok. In the evening we got to take Sandcom to the forest where she spends the night. Its really lovely watching her go off towards the trees for a good feed. The
Kris and Super Sancom
after we drew on her in chalk to celebrate Songkran
elephants get to stay in the forest overnight, because they only spend 3 hours a night sleeping and need to spend the rest of the time feeding. Also it gives them some variation in their lives. They are tied up so they dont get lost, but its to a long chain so they can walk around the area abit. After we had taken Sandcom we had a party at the camp for Songkran. There was lots of loud music and dancing and we cooked and ate lots of food. It was really good.
The next morning one of the mahouts and his wife returned to the camp. They had been away to have their second baby. They brought the 8 day old baby back and we got to take part in a Thai ritual for new babies. Basically all the friends and family tie bits of cotton round the baby's arms and legs and either attach money to her to symbolise wealth in her life, or speak their wishes for her future. It was lovely that they let us take part, even if they didnt know what we wished for for her.
But too soon all this elephant
Kate admiring her handiwork on Sandcom
we gave her glasses cos she's abit short sighted.
related fun came to an end and it was time for us to go back to school and learn how to teach English to all these Thai people....
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