Yes. He is indeed: the bomb. the bees knees. and the cat’s meow.
Yes. He is indeed: the bomb. the bees knees. and the cat’s meow.
thinking of my mom who continues to fight ovarian cancer (18+ years) with quiet dignity and strength ♥. she is my inspiration, my heroine and my cheerleader. i am thankful to be wearing her genes, get it? genes?! 🙂
From Humans of New York
“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”
“Try your best to deal with life without medicating yourself.”
“You mean drugs?”
“I mean drugs, food, shopping, money, whatever. I ain’t judging anybody, either. I was hooked on heroin for years. But now I’ve learned that every feeling will pass if you give it time. And if you learn to deal with your feelings, they’ll pass by faster each time. So don’t rush to cover them up, or you’re never gonna learn.”
I was pissed. But I am over it. Life’s to short.
This is what transpired earlier today… which started with a facebook post from Lek along with some sadly graphic but important pictures of elephant torture.
Today was a very laid back day. We first went back to the ENP office to donate more clothes. Dontating clothes helps the Hill Tribe village that will end up receiving them and it makes more room in our suitcases to bring home market finds!! 🙂 From ENP office, we walked to Tai Paeth Gate, which was barely a quarter mile, for Sunday market. We found a different vendor that was making fresh dumplings – yummy still!! And we got grilled corn on the cob. We bought a few more last minute things: happy pants (stretch loose cotton pants that are great for hot weather), scarf for mom, more hanging lights for the girls… Definitely my favorite day market and in a great area for exploring.
By the time we finished looking at everything we wanted to, we decided to have late lunch early dinner at the Black Canyon Cafe. We each splurged on delicious coffee drinks… this is my black hazelnut frappe.
We returned back to the hotel for one last swim at the pool. Then showered and packed our suitcases. This is always one of the saddest parts but we are ready to get back to our families…. Good bye Lotus Pang Suan Keow. See you again soon!! [ Now for the 24 hour trip back home… 🙂 ]
Today is another day of exploring and shopping! But first I want to capture what the hotel looks like from outside our room. The center is like a humongous atrium that’s light and open. Our view of inside the hotel from our 12th floor location – we are room 21221.
We go back down our favorite street (maybe one day I will actually write it down) which is just walking distance from our hotel. We find a very nice boutique-y plaza next to the Factory Outlet that sells the Celadon. There are about 15 little shops that sell clothes, jewelry, shoes, hats – a goldmine for fashionable chicks like us. Since the Factory Outlet is still closed, we decide to take a red bus to Saturday market. We get there at about 1 p.m. not realizing that the Saturday market is an evening market that does not really start until 4 p.m. We decide we do not want to hang around that long — the pollution (car exhaust) is exceptionally bad. Instead we discover that one of the street that Saturday market is next to is full of shop after shop of silver jewelry. Imagine a street with one candy store after another (if you like candy), that is what it is like when we are looking at the jewelry. Of course we buy a couple of pieces. 🙂
We decide we will head back to the hotel, go for a swim. This is our gorgeous swimming pool on the 7th floor!
After a relaxing hour at the pool, we shower and have dinner at Tops Market, you guessed it, pad Thai. I have to lay off the Thai curry, the hot spice is starting to get to me… We then go back to the street that sells the Celadon and pick up a couple more pieces that have the elephants decorated in the pottery. We stop at the boutique plaza next door and drink some water. Hi Sabine!! 🙂
On the way back to our hotel we see this tree all lit up. Looks better in person, but at least I’ll never forget it, even with this blurry picture.
When we get back to the hotel, we eat cookies in bed and watch the one American channel that airs some decent TV shows. Life is good.
We decided to sleep in this morning. It feels so good to sleep in a warm bed, and in a room where we actually have to turn on the air conditioning instead of adding a fourth layer of clothing (as I did at ENP). Eventually we stroll down to the 1st floor for our complimentary buffet breakfast. There is a huge assortment of food but Sabine and I stick to the usual Thai salad bar. However, when I see these mini croissants, I have to get some mostly because they remind of 2 of the dogs, Son Luk and Thai Pei, that we would hug daily at ENP and it makes me smile.
After breakfast we decide to explore our favorite street which we discovered the last time we were here 2 years ago, to do a little shopping. This is ALWAYS fun. We find a factory outlet shop (Thai style) that sells Celadon (famous in Thailand) and we buy some beautiful bowls with elephants on it. We are thrilled at this find. We find a few other shops where we buy a few gifts and, of course, some stuff for ourselves.
We eat lunch at Tops market in the Central Mall (connected to our hotel) and order one of our favorite meals, Thai curry chicken.
The we go to TaiPeth Gate, which is where the Sunday (afternoon) market is. we had found 2 or 3 very nice boutiques that sell pure silver jewelry as well as scarves. We buy more goodies and have a great time spending the afternoon outdoors.
When we return back to the hotel abd because it is 93º F, we decided to go swimming in the HUGE (Olympic sized but nicer shape) swimming pool on the 7th floor – outdoors. How lovely! We swim for an hour, shower and go for pad Thai at Top Market. We go back to the Night Bazaar again and make sure to get to Lanna Silver. I buy the elephant pave bracelet. I will always love this store because of the large selection of gorgeous, uniquely designed silver jewelry pieces. And they always take you up on the saying, “Can you please give me any discount?” 🙂
By the way, I will get pictures of the swimming pool tomorrow. I love it here!!!
It is 4 p.m. and we are checking into this hotel. Oh my!! Not only does this feel like heaven because we are in a real hotel (warm showers to be had, soft beds, no ‘skeeters), but this might be one of the nicest hotels I have ever been in! This is our room:
We took hot showers — sooooo nice — and the headed to Central Mall complex. On our way out of the Mall area, local vendors had set up the stands with foods and wears. I found my favorite little vendor that sells all sorts of silver jewelry — lots of charms and earrings and bracelets. I got several charms, some as gifts and some for myself. I am posting this next picture so I remember how to lace this charm through the chain. It’s very pretty!!! 🙂
From there we decided to go check out the Warrurot market (Chinese market) on the recommendation of our friend Patricia (from Argentina). Very disappointed with this market. It was basically commercial cheap goods (shirts, luggage, etc) and the area was very dirty… maybe we just went at a bad time?? But I think we’ll avoid this market in future visits back to Thailand.
We went back to our favorite night market, the Kilare Night Bazaar. In the red bus that we took there we saw this in the back where we were sitting; it felt like a good omen to be reminded of ENP even though we had just left the park!!
While strolling through the Bazaar, we accidentally discovered a a real jewelry store in the heart of the Bazaar called, Lanna Silver. We both bought a couple of very beautiful pieces of jewelry (can you ever have too much?) Git a gigantic ice-cream at the Haagen Dazs ice cream shop. Strolled through several more shops but by 8:30 p.m. we were exhausted and decided to go back to our (lovely) hotel. By the way, our hotel has HOT WATER!!!
While laying in our beds watching some TV, we heard loud booms, opened the curtains of our 12th floor sitting room area and saw gorgeous fireworks!! Perfect was to end the night! 🙂
A few notables…
These trees are all cement that have been textured and painted to look like tree branches. It is very beautiful and pictures do not do it justice! When everything is dry, they scatter planters of flowers throughout the structure. I could stare at these for hours.
This is Bella, our one night slumber party companion and our deck chair resident. Sweetest.dog.ever.
This water buffalo was making the silliest sound. Jodi is able to repeat it right back to her! 🙂
Today is our last day at the park. I’ll especially miss my two favorite VCs, Jane and Aek (both males). These guys are great! And believe in the cause for the elephants.
Jodi offers to take us on our elephant walk in the morning as she does for all the 2 week volunteers. This is always such a treat.
First we say hello to one of my favorite pairs, Jokia (50 yrs old) and Mae Perm (65 yrs old). I know I have told Jokia’s story many times but I will tell it again. Jokia is one of the first 5 elephants that was rescued at ENP when the park first opened in 2003. She is blind in both eyes by the hand of her mahout (prior to rescue) as a form of punishment for being ‘difficult’. Jokia had been working in a logging camp and was pregnant at the time. She gave birth while working but was not permitted to see her baby immediately after. As a result, her baby died – as a mother, Jokia would have broken the sac and ‘kick the baby to get it to start breathing. Jokia became very upset and depressed and would not work. Her mahout speared one eye. She remained depressed for many more days and still refused to work. Her mahout slingshot her other eye. When Lek happened by Jokia, she saw that Jokia was blind and questioned the mahout why she was still working. The mahout said she was still able to work. Lek bought her immediately as part of her first set of rescues. Mae Perm had also been rescued days earlier and Mae Perm immediately befriended Jokia. Mae Perm has become her ‘eyes’ and they are never far apart. If Jokai chirps or trumpets for her (though she does not overdo this, she is quite independent), Mae Perm immediately rushes over to her and touches her with her trunk to let her know that she is there. Although I feel awful for the loss of Jokai’s sight, particularly because of the way it happened, it is a relief to know that of all an elephant’s senses, eyesight is by far the worst. Their sense of smell and feel for vibrations (they sense this through their feet) are the most finely tuned of their senses and the ones they rely on the most.
Mae Perm walks right up to me to say hello, she has the reputation of being the friendliest, easiest to approach, kindest of all the elephants. She is awfully sweet… ♡.
Here is a quick water buffalo crossing. There are a lot more this year with quite a few births… because some of the bulls escaped castration or the castration didn’t take.
Next stop is Yindee’s (1 1/2 years old) family group. Yindee’s mother, Mintra, is 18 years old. She has two dislocated hips from being hit by a car while she worked as street begging. It is amazing to me that she was able to have Yindee let alone walk. I am very happy for her. Yindee has 2 nannies each with a landmine injury on their back legs, but ine has it on the right hind foot and the other one on the left hind foot. Their name are Malai Tong (30 years old) and Porn Suan (20 years old). Porn Suan is the super-I’ll-kick-your-ass-if-you-even-look-at-Yindee-funny nanny… she adores him. Yindee also has 2 grand nannies and they are both blind. Their names are Jam Pang and Jarunee. Yindee spends his time playing and checking in with all his nannies. He does get play time with Dok Mai since they are so close in age and size. I found out that Navaan no longer gets play time with Dok Mai or Yindee because he is older (at 2 yrs and 4 mos) and too big and a bit rough. I feel bad for Navaan as he probably needs a playmate and I wonder if this restriction would occur in the wild. But I am sure the park has given this careful thought.
We then move along to the family herd of Faa Mai, Tong Jan, Mae Bua Tong, Dok Mai, Dok Ngern, Faa Sai, Sri Nuan,…
Here is little fatty Faa Mai.
Dok Mai approaching innocently to say hello…
We see Faa Mai with her mom, Mae Bua Tong, and the herd seem content to wander around fairly close together. Mae Bua Tong comes right up to me… I have always thought she is such a good mother.
Still a little busty from nursing Faa Mai.
Faa Mai goes to Mae Bua Tong to try and nurse. Not sure if she is too old for this, but Mae Bua Tong never pushes her away.
Faa Mai then decides to wander off on her own. True to form, just as she did 4 years ago, she is breaking fences ! ♡ 🙂 She seems quite pleased with her work.
I love the super tall bamboo umbrella structures built to offer some shade to the elephants.
We notice some elephants in the river that are not associated with ENP and Jodi suggests we get closer to have a look so that she can give us some insight. This group adventure is call “Woody’s Elephants”. Although they do not use trekking contraptions, the elephants are still used for riding on the elephant’s neck. There are no hooks but the guides do use nails to “control” the elephants as I actually do witness at that moment 😦 One of the elephants is still quite small, it seems like she is only 10 or 11. This breaks my heart to see that elephants are still objectified for human entertainment.
We make a quick stop at Jodi’s hut and I admire her beautiful chicken!
Our next stop is Khun Dej and his family. The happy ending in this trio is that Dani’s daughter (about Saree’s age) and her baby boy (would have been Khun Dej’s age) were both taken away from her prior to ENP. She was a very sad and lonely elephant. She now has Saree (female) and Khun Dej (male) that have sort of taken the place of her lost family and she is now thriving again. ♡
Khun Dej is 3 years old and his name means “warrior” or “knight”, which is very well suited to him since he has been through so much. He was discovered by the Thai Prime Minister’s daughter, NuNa, who is greatly supportive of Lek’s work. Khun Dej was originally found in the jungle with a badly healed, serious injury to his front left foot. It is assumed that it got caught in a wire noose snare. The are was being kept in for 2 years lost its funding so Khun Dej ended up at the government hospital. He was chained around his neck because they could not get it around his damaged foot. NuNa brought him to Lek. When his mahout quit, they could not find anyone to take care of him. Khun Dej does not belong to ENP but he will live at ENP forever because of his injury. His new mahouts (they care for his adoptive sister, Saree, and his adoptive mother, Dani) are Thai Karin which are (typically) the best mahouts.
Here, Saree plays with Khun Dej so lovingly.
Khun Dej has sad, thickly lashed, beautiful eyes but he seems happy with his new family.
I buy a wood carving of Khun Dej from the mahouts.
I cannot remember which one this lovely lady is… but she eats just the leaves of the corn stalks since she is quite old and it is difficult for her to chew. It is amazing to see how flexible and adept she is at tearing just the leaves off one by one and collecting a good sized mouthful before she actually puts it in her mouth.
Next we see old Mail Tong eating pumpkin… which is sort of hard for to chew.
Me, Sabine, Jodi and David (Japanese born Chicago-ite — very nice and funny) make her peanut butter, banana and steamed pumpkin sandwiches… which she does not like at all. She either takes the sandwich and tosses it aside, or she moves her trunk away from the hand fed sandwich. The sandwiches are to help her gain weight. She had a blood parasite and the medicine to treat it wore her out. She has really slowed down, but given her age, 60-65, she is doing relatively well. Still would be nice to fatten her up a bit though.
After lunch, Sabine, Jodi, Dave, Nel (super sweet, intelligent, hardworking vet student from Australia) and I do the enrichment for all 3 of the bachelor boys. Hope’s caregiver, Chai Ruk, helps out as well although he frequently does enrichment on his own for Hope. He’s a very hardworking and thoughtful guy.
This is the set up for Tong Suk and Chang Yim:
Tong Suk seems to be enjoying it.
This is Hope’s set up:
He enjoyed knocking everything down and then eating it! 🙂
Sabine and I just finish the enrichment and it is time to leave ENP….
Next stop? warm shower….! More to come…
Good morning! … this is Lucky. She is completely blind and beautiful. She is combining a very small snack of corn stalks with an exfoliation against the cement pillar. These pillars along with tall tree stumps are scattered throughout the sanctuary so the eles can relieve itches or do 5 – minute spas. 🙂
And this little guy climbed right into my lap this morning at breakfast. I love his little motor mouth.
Navaan comes up for his early morning hello while his nannies get their warm blankets put on. I love his little baby trunk on the platform.
This morning, instead of doing steamed pumpkin, Jodi has us do elephant enrichment for Jungle Boy and Chang Yim in their HUGE enclosure. We stuff 2 tires and set up corn stalks and branches into tee-pees. This is is a lot of fun! Tong Suk (Jungle Boy – 13 years old) and Chang Yim (6 years old) share this enclosure with Tong Suk teaching Chang Yim about being a bachelor, something that would occur naturally if they were not captive.
This is the morning crew, less Jodi who is up front in the truck with the driver. And me, photographing the picture 🙂
Tong Suk and Chang Yim watch us carefully as we set up their area… eagerly waiting.
These are the creations we came up with for Tong Suk and Chang Yim: corn stalk tee-pees, stuffed tires. Jodi told us later during lunch that they found everything we did within minutes and were thoroughly busy eating and playing. Woohoo!
This is a quick shot of their built in pool. It’s difficult to capture the sheer size of it but it is quite large and both Tong Suk and Chang Yim can be in it at the same time – probably about two more elephants with them if they wanted…)
On our way back, we get a quick sighting of Yindee with his nannies. Look at the love and the trunk hugging.
During lunch I see this sweet lady getting a good scratch on a cement pillar. She has a very badly injured tight leg and moves quite slowly but she seems quite content here… 🙂
At 1 p.m. Sabine, Mel and I are ready to build the enrichment for the family herd enclosure. Here are some of our efforts in the different shelters. By the way, all of the shelters box surprise boxes filled with snacks. Faa Sai’s is the largest box, of course. We loved getting creative…
While waiting for the family herd to return, we got to visit Steel and her gimpy friends and then the dog shelter.
…And here are the prettiest flowers growing on trees that line the dirt roads through the park…
We return back to the family herd shelter around 4 p.m. and see that Sri Nuan, older 60’s, is already in their shelter. We have not missed much though. Sri Nuan delicately pokes around and eats some of the corn stalks and bananas. A few minutes later she discovers her box. She opens is so carefully and I am impressed. She rummages through,very neatly, putting individual treat into her mouth – such a lady.
Next comes Dok Mai, Dok Ngern and nanny. They are all a little more obvious at the eagerness of tearing into their stuff. There is some banana stealing. 🙂
Here is another group returning to a different set of shelters.
Next, Faa Mai, Tong Jan and Mae Bua Tong return into their shelter. Mae Bua Tong’s daughters are like kids on Christmas morning. After they have attacked their goodies, Faa Mai decides to grab Faa Sai’s box with her trunk. Very clever!
And Faa Sai has not returned yet.
We wonder why Faa Sai is not back as 20 more minutes go by. Finally we see her with about 6 mahouts, including Darrick in his tractor, sort of guiding her along. We assume she is being ‘difficult’ as Lek and Jodi mentioned she can be. We find out later that Faa Sai wanted to meet and play with the new elephant, Sook Sai. On her way meandering back to her enclosure, she decided to make her own route home. She walks down the dirt road of our volunteer housing!!! She is quite at ease with 3 mahouts and Pom to guide her the long way home back to her shelter. Faa Sai steals some flowers and tree leaves and her guides just say, “No, no, Faa Sia” and she sort of obeys. There is no physical reprimand of any kind on Faa Sai…
I’ll close with one of the BEST cold salads that I have had with dinner. I must try to make something like this back home.