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Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Tigers, Elephants and Backpackers of Chiang Mai - Page 5

Written by Adam O'Hern
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We soon find out, however, that anyone sitting on an elephant’s back while in the water is in fact in danger.  Not of being trampled or thrown off into the water.  Rather, the elephants seem to think it’s quite funny to fill up their trunks with water and then spray their unsuspecting riders in the face before happily going back to splashing their heads in the water.

Back at the hostel, there were a few people who told us that many elephants are mistreated in Thai elephant camps, but as we use brushes to clean our elephants, it’s clear that those people have never been to Woody’s camp.  Just watching the trainers, riders and elephants interact, it’s clear that the trainers care very much about their elephants and it’s equally clear that the elephants couldn’t be happier as they play in the water.

Eventually, the elephants’ bath devolves into a massive water fight where the elephants obligingly allow us to use their trunks to spray one another.  As we get out of the water, it’s time to say goodbye to our elephant and return home.

As we ride back to the hostel, I can understand why Dave wanted to go to Woody’s elephant camp again.

When Siena and I arrive back at the hostel, we rejoin our group from yesterday.  The group has decided to grab a bite to eat at the night market and then head to a Muay Thai bout. 

At the restaurant, we talk about each other’s days.  Kelly, the Dutch girl, tells us about overcoming her fear of heights as she went ziplining through the Thai forest.  Of the two girls who went bungee jumping, Lily, a dark skinned English girl, tells us that she loved it, while the second girl orders an extra large beer and refuses to talk about the incident.  Dave enjoyed the white water rafting, but wishes that it had been a bit more intense.

The conversation eventually turns to what everyone is going to do tomorrow.  Siena, Kelly, Dave and I decide that we’ll make a visit to the Tiger Kingdom, where travelers are allowed to pet and play with live tigers.  There’s some fuss at our choice of activity and a few people tell not to go because the staff drug the tigers to make them docile.

Lily tells us that she went a few days ago and that the tigers were not drugged.  The four of us decide that the only way to find out is to visit the Tiger Kingdom tomorrow and see for ourselves. 

P5041678After that our group gets lost on the way to the Muay Thai fights, and instead we stumble in to some fake Muay Thai fights where “fighters” go back and forth with numerous kicks and do ridiculous things like fall out of the ring onto concrete and then go on to win the match.  Since it’s free, we sit down at a bar that’s ringside and play Jenga as we sip on local beers.

(Page 5 of 7)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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