Adventures as Miss Saigon

Archive for January 12th, 2013

I woke up this morning at 5:30am to be able to watch the sunrise and see the park come to life. It was incredible sitting on the viewing platform, pretty much alone, as the sun began to shed light on the beautiful park.

After breakfast, we met our new guide, Adam, for another morning walk. We started out visiting the 2 month old baby elephant and his mother. I could watch these two for ages…the mother had been injured by a landline and has a deformed foot, but is so sweet and I fed her all of my bananas…the baby is so playful and curious, rolling around, playing and nursing, and really just being a baby! Our walk lasted about 2 hours, in which time I fed an elephant directly into her mouth, bought an elephant carving from one of the mahouts, and got reasonably close to Hope (one of the naughty boys, whose mahout has to ride him – he’s the only one allowed to ride – in order to kept control of Hope, and the mahout hasn’t had a day off in 3 years because he’s the only one able to control Hope) and to Jungle Boy (another naughty boy, with big white tusks, who is currently in heat and chained up because of it, as he will apparently hump everyone!).

After lunch, I volunteered to help chop fruit (with a machete!) for the elephants…Adam stuck with us, and we had many laughs while chopping pumpkins, watermelons and pineapples. A quick visit back to the dogs was followed by a bit of ‘trekking’ with Adam through some fields, across a bridge and around a village. Adam had us trying fruits that he was picking off the trees that we passed…so fun!

The day was wonderful and relaxing and I didn’t want it to end. I’m sad that my time at the elephant park has ended, but so happy to have had the experience! I have so much respect for these amazing creatures and the people who work everyday to protect them. I cannot believe how close they allowed (and encouraged) us to get, how many positive opportunities I had to engage with the ellies, and how graceful these massive creatures really are. And, as a side note, the training principles used at the park are all positive behaviour strategies…so amazing to see what I do on a daily basis being implemented with elephants!!

Back in Chiang Mai, I grabbed a quick shower, dropped off $3 worth of laundry, changed a bit of money and had a bite to eat. On the way back to my guesthouse, I ran into one of the guys from my hostel in Bangkok! Such a big city, but small world 🙂

Off to bed soon, as this girl is exhausted! One more day in Thailand!!