We're finally going round the world! travel blog

Getting our ingredients at the market (lots of things we never saw...










Our cooking attire (the pink suits him!!)




Da's first meal - pad thai

Tara's first meal










Elephant paws are quite big

She decided to tear down a whole banana tree on the walk...


The remains of an entire banana tree!!

Her owner walks behind her and jabs her with the pointed stick...







The elephants are all chained

There is no room on the chain for them to walk so...



Happy 60th Birthday M!!!

We spent our 2 days in Chiang Mai (after a much-needed post night bus sleep!) busy with local activities, and our evenings wandering around the night market, peaking over walls at the temples, and eating fantastic street pancakes :). For our first day, we joined a cooking course – and loved it! We each chose 5 meals, plus a curry paste, to learn, and then started the day with a visit to a local market to buy our very fresh ingredients and learn about the local herbs, spices, oils, noodles, fruits, vegetables, etc. We ate each dish as we made them - they were suprisingly easy to make, and delicious (of course!), and we finished the day full to bursting and very proud of ourselves.

We were much less proud of ourselves by the end of the next day. We’d decided that we’d like to learn more about Asian elephants and how they’re worked, but knew that we didn’t want to support any of the many local elephant shows (where they do things like paint and play basketball) – we chose a ‘mahout experience’ instead: it promised to teach us how local mahouts (elephant handlers) work with their elephants, and came highly recommended from its internet reviews. We weren't exactly happy by the end of our introductory talk, when our trainer explained how a pointy hook on a stick is used to help control the elephants because they fear sharp things, and how they are beaten if they ‘misbehave’ – for example, if a tourist teases an elephant with food, then takes it away, and the elephant gets cross, the tourist is encouraged to hit the elephant so that they learn to ‘respect’ all people, not just their main trainers. Then we met our elephants, who were rocking on their very short chains (one step forwards, lean on chain, one step back, over and over...) and very nearly asked to leave. Except that the seven elephants who live at this camp spend all of their non-tourist time chained; if we'd left, the company would still have had the money we'd already paid, but the elephants wouldn't get their walk to forage. So we stayed. Da was too uncomfortable to ride; Tara learnt, but refused to use the pointy hook, and we both tried to explain why we were upset, and why we really didn't want to see the elephants doing tricks for us. We did feel extremely privilaged to spend the day with these incredible, beautiful giants - and we know that their work-load was much worse before it was principally tourism, and that they have to be chained or they would eat all of the neighbours' crops - but still seeing them this way made us very sad, and knowing that there are more elephants living like them in Chiang Mai alone (there are around 50 elephant camps here, and the largest has 77 elephants) than there are wild in all of Thailand is awful. There is an Elephant Nature Foundation in Chiang Mai (http://www.elephantnaturefoundation.org) that we wish we'd visited - tho we've heard good and bad things about them too...

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |