Monday, January 6, 2014

Katelyn's Post

DAY #7 in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yesterday by far was my favorite day in Thailand! We woke up early and had another delicious breakfast in the courtyard of our hotel. The women who work at the hotel we are staying at are so sweet! We then all loaded up the bus and headed towards one of the elephant camps here in Thailand. There are several camps located in Thailand, as a way to help protect the elephant population from poachers. Each trainer has an elephant they have bonded with and trained. Every night the trainer will take the elephant up to the mountains to sleep in their natural environment, then in the morning they will go get the elephants and bring them to the camps. The teamwork and bond that each trainer has with their elephant just amazes me! When we first arrived to the camp we all hopped on a wooden cart that was being pulled by two ox and rode around the camp. This place is so beautiful with the mountains, bright green trees, steams and colorful flowers. Its no wonder why everyone here seems so happy, nature does wonders for the soul.

Then we got to go on an elephant ride!!! Oh was that FUN! The elephant Lindsay and I rode on was named Boo. I was so impressed by how well he listened to his trainer! The guy even got off at one point and was following from behind calling out commands! We walked around the camp, went into the water, stopped for pictures and got to feed him bananas! It was so much fun! The trainer was also very friendly, he was very curious about what we do and why we where in Chiang Mai. I love the kindness everyone shows and how open they are to ask about our lives. This has totally changed my perspective on how I may approach visitors in America when I am back home. I can say that before I was more reluctant to say anything, but now I think I will be just as open and curious to talk travelers who come to America as the Thai people we have met have been towards us. After the ride we got to feed some elephants, take pictures with them and I even got a kiss from one on the cheek. That was the juiciest kiss I have ever gotten! :) We also got to see an elephant show where they danced, played soccer, and painted picture. Guess who got to buy the painting! ME!! Definitely the best souvenir!

After the elephant park we went to the Tiger Kingdom and had a very yummy lunch buffet! It is going to be difficult to try to adjust to the food back at home everything here is so tasty and made from the freshest ingredients! Then I got to do one of the craziest things I ever done, hang out with a tiger in his cage for 15 minutes! It was so amazing how well they were trained and how they just allowed us to lay on them, take pictures and rub their bellies. I am sure there were some meds given to them to relax them, which is something I definitely do not agree with, but just for the experience I had to do it! When in Thailand :)

I am excited to have a relaxing day in Chiang Mai, I just love this city!!! Already planning a way to come back! Although I think I will have to stay at the resort at the elephant park so I can ride one everyday!!

Sawadee Ka!!

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