Saturday, November 23rd – Chiang Mai
Mae Sa Elephant Camp
We had our thrill of riding an elephant a few days earlier while at the River Kwai. This time was more interaction which included feeding them, getting hugs and kisses, seeing them being bathed in the river and then watching a show.
The care and gentleness these huge creatures used when touching us was fascinating. After our casual time with them we proceeded to a stadium to watch a show. From playing soccer, twirling a hula hoop, dunking a basketball, throwing darts to pop balloons and an exhibit of their strength, the elephants kept us entertained.
One of the highlights of the show was when the gentle giants came out carrying their own paint boxes and proceeded to paint intricate pictures in front of us. Here are a few snaps of a painting in progress and the final results. If I had not witnessed them being created, I think I would have been skeptical, but they were done entirely by the elephants with only the aid of having paint put on the brush for them.
Group lunch followed at the Bai Orchid Butterfly Restaurant
Our afternoon was free-time. Several of us chose to visit the Tiger Kingdom to get up close and personal with the big cats. Different packages were available depending upon individual tastes and comfort levels. One could simply walk past the numerous cages and observe, or you could choose to go into the cage with the small, medium or large cats. We chose to go into 5 cages and have pictures taken in each. We had 2 1/2 hours there which was just enough time to do it all.
We realized that at one point Tim and I were in a cage alone with SEVEN tigers, one handler and our photographer. Hmmm, sure glad that worked out OK!
Surprisingly we felt very comfortable and completely at home with the big cats.
Our day was topped off with dinner in a private home that included the best meal we had over the past two weeks. Not open to the public, the well-polished teak home is only available through special arrangement. Owned by a lovely woman named Komb Pea, she and her son greeted us and made us feel so welcome. From the greeting appetizer to the end of the meal, each bite was delicious.
After eating, we had one final surprise, sending hot air balloons off to the heavens. We made our wish and sent our troubles away.