This past weekend most of the group I am with had the chance of a lifetime to go and ride Elephants!! I sometimes forget that I am in this 3rd world country on this adventure and then we do things like riding Elephants and I am reminded that this is actually quite incredible :)
There is a local Waffle Shop that a few of my friends here and I have become obsessed with. We have seemed to get waffles the morning before any big adventure that we have gone on, so we decided in the future whenever we go on an adventure that the day needs to begin with waffles! They are soooooo good!
Instead of traveling to Chaing Rai the normal way of busses we took these boats that are right behind our house! It was one of my favorite things I have done here in Thailand! It was sooo beautiful and so peaceful! It was for sure the most ideal way to travel long distances. Since there were so many of us we had to take three boats on our adventure. Right before we got on the boat one of the guys we were with asked us if we wanted a Thai speaker to go with us on our boat. We were a bunch of girls and felt confident in our abilities to make it there successfully without a Thai speaker in our boat.
We were rethinking that decision the moment our boat suddenly stopped working. We were all sitting there enjoying the scenery and life in this beautiful boat when we just came to a complete stop and our little guide got a look of terror on his face and quickly tried to move us toward the shore. It was kind of funny actually, we were moving straight towards this big bush and it was hitting some girls in the face so they were trying to push it out of their face while our guide was trying grab the bush to tie us to it! So for a little bit there was a battle between the two. Once we realized what he was trying to do we let him tie us to this bush to keep us from floating down the river any farther in a boat that wasn't working. I think the engine overheated or something because once we were tired to the boat he started pouring the river water on the engine to cool it down. After several minuets and silent prayers we heard the engine roar back to life and we were quickly on our way to the Elephant Camp where we would ride the elephants!!
It was so amazing to step off the boats and see Elephants all over the place! I have said this so many times since I have been here but I feel like I am just in a dream sometimes! Seeing the elephants was another time that I felt like I was in a dream. I have seen pictures of these animals my whole life and have acted out the noise and elephant makes with my nephews and the kids I worked with at the preschool and here they were in real life!
This is kind of Ghetto picture but it is one of the only ones that I have of me actually on the Elphant. The people who ran the camp took a picture of each of us on them right before we took off an our little adventure and they had them developed and ready for us to take after we got off (they are smart people). They were only 100 baht, so $3 in American Money so it felt like a good buy to me! I love this picture because of how happy/nervous we were feeling about being on them!
Right after that picture was taken the bar that you see us holding onto fell off! It was actually really scary! We were up really high on this Elephant so I felt like that bar was something that I wanted to hold onto sooo tight! So once that thing fell off I was scared! Luckily our little guide was quick to jump off and grab it and we were able to put it right back on.
That should have been a warning to us of how the ride was going to be :)
I'm not sure what I was expecting it to be like, but it wasn't what it was like :) I actually felt like I was riding a bull at a Rodeo for how bumpy it was! We were rocking back and forth sooooo much! I had a water bottle full of a crystal light packet on the side of my back pack that opened some how from all the commotion and me and my friend Kaley had orange crystal light all over our back sides :) It was hard to hold onto our stuff while we were going because it was so bumpy, so I didn't feel very comfortable pulling out my camera and taking pictures while I was on the Elephant.
Before the ride we bought some bananas to feed the Elephant while we were riding and I asked out guide a few times if we could give the Elephant one and he kept saying no. He wasn't my favorite guide in the whole world :) He seemed to not really enjoy what he was doing, like it was just a job for him. He seemed to be annoyed with our Elephant and kept whipping him. My leg was right by the part of the Elephant and I had fears that he was going to accidently whip me! Luckily that didn't happen. I still felt bad for how he was treating out Elephant though.
Before we got to the camp we were debating on either riding them for an hour or 30 minuets After about 5 minuets of our ride we were so grateful that we had decided to only ride for 30 minuets! Sadly though they only took us on a 15 minuets ride! I was bummed but also kind of grateful to be almost done.
After our ride we were finally able to feed the Elephants the bananas that we had bought. We found out after we got off that we must have not had the best guide because all of the other guides were letting our friends feed their Elephants bananas and they other guides even let our friends sit on the neck of their Elephant as they were riding! Personally I don't even know how they would have gotten onto the neck of their Elephant because it was such a bumpy ride! Maybe our little guy was just having an off day? :)
Here are some pictures of me feeding some of the Elephants there bananas. It was so fun to feed them! They picked up the banana from our hands with their trunk and then they would put the banana in their mouth with that. The second that they had it in their mouth they were already looking for another one from us. In this picture I think I had just run our of the bananas that I was holding.
I didn't actually enjoy touching their skin :) It was a really interesting texture! I think this is one of the only pictures that I have of me touching one of them.
This is an accurate representation of how I felt of being around them sometimes. :)
I love the look on this Elephants face. Sneaky guy :)
For sure one of my favorite weekends!!
After we were done with the Elephants we got back onto our boats and went the rest of the way to Chiang Rai for a fun day of watching movies and spending the afternoon in a mall eating American Food! We were all going to go to the new Despicable Me 2 movie but found out it was only in Thai, no English Subtitles at all. The only one that was in English was the new movie "The Lone Ranger."
I can't say that I loved this movie. I also can't say that I hated it either. I think it was just fun to be in a movie theater in Thailand with air conditioning. For a second I forgot that I was in Thailand and felt like I was back in the states.
After the movie we headed to a night market that they have every Saturday and Sunday night in Chiang Rai. It is such a fun place!! I think I have mentioned it before, but there are so many random forms of transportation here! We got to experience another one Saturday night on our way to the market! This is called a Tuk Tuk. It was a squished ride but it was so fun!!
This picture is really bad quality, but at least I got an action shot of us!!
We were only there for a little over an hour but it was fun to walk around and look at all the fun little stands at the market. That is one thing that I really love about Thailand. They have little stands all over the place here selling really neat stuff! I will miss that when I get back to the states!
I ended that evening with two other girls dancing at the market. They had this band playing and they were teaching people local dances! It was sooooo fun! Seriously one of the funnest things I have done here! I got a lot of stares from the locals because I was this white girl holding my purse and a sack that I had with the things that I had purchased that night at the market! it was still so fun! We had some sweet little ladies helping us learn the dances! They were so cute and were so encouraging to us as we were learning! At the end they gave us a huge thumbs up, so I am guessing they thought they we did a good job!
The next day we had the chance to go to church again in Chiang Rai! I am so grateful that I can go around the world and still be able to attend church!! It was such a great meeting! We all forgot that it was Fast Sunday that day so we were surprised when they announced "Today is Fast Sunday". For some reason being here on this adventure I have been loosing all track of time! Next month I will do better! :) We were so blessed after church with a meal that they shared with us. The people here in Thailand are sooo generous and kind and loving! I love it and I love them!
It was a great weekend in Chiang Rai, Thailand!