They gave me a machete: a true story of corn-cutting

Our group of 10 piles into the back of a pickup truck at 8 a.m. We’re covered head-to-toe, largely to avoid ants crawling down our clothing and nipping us. I’ve got on a hat with fabric flaps, a long-sleeved shirt, a T-shirt, leggings, gum boots, and a pair of gloves. And, I’m not as coveredContinue reading “They gave me a machete: a true story of corn-cutting”

Cultural Tips for Thailand

“Chang, Chang, Chang,” we all sing, our shoulders tucked into our noses and our one arm hanging to depict an elephant trunk. It’s nighttime, and Jack and Chai have called us up to the conference room to teach us about Thai culture and the Thai language. The first thing that sticks in my head? ElephantContinue reading “Cultural Tips for Thailand”

I’m not full of it, I’m shoveling it

I wake up early on my first day — as soon as the light begins to sneak through the tiny cracks in the wood, and the more than 100 dogs begin to bark their “hellos” to their cat neighbors and the elephants start making their noises out my window. I’m too excited to sleep anyContinue reading “I’m not full of it, I’m shoveling it”

Blessings from a shaman

It starts as a drizzle after dinner … a soft pitter patter on the roof of the main area at the Park. It’s dark, so we can’t really see the full effect. But, we can hear it. Within minutes, that light little drizzle gives way to sheets of rain, dumping from the sky. As weContinue reading “Blessings from a shaman”

A room at the (primitive) Palace

I don’t expect much when Jack hands me the key to my room, a hut in the Palace complex. On the Elephant Nature Park’s Web site, it states the toilets are squat and the showers are Thai (meaning buckets to rinse, no shower heads), so when I walk the few feet to my lodging forContinue reading “A room at the (primitive) Palace”

Floating elephant poo and other awesomeness

“Ele poo! Look out, ele poo!” Jack screams as we wade into the rushing water, elephants at our side. Sure enough, there are huge balls of elephant poo floating by our legs. It’s like the elephants just hold it until they hit their own, big rushing river toilet. Before we get into the water, weContinue reading “Floating elephant poo and other awesomeness”

The Thailand Foodgasm: The ultimate Thai buffet

The lunch bell rings at Elephant Nature Park at noon. Had we really already been there a few hours? The time so far has flown by. And, while I love that the experiences were that┬ásupremely amazing thus far, I don’t want the week to fly by. I want to savor every single moment and feelContinue reading “The Thailand Foodgasm: The ultimate Thai buffet”

Feeding elephants

Within an hour of arriving to the park, I have met my first elephants. Our van is the first to arrive at Elephant Nature Park, so we drop our bags, and sit down. But, it is hard for any of us to sit still. There are elephants. Everywhere. Not just the actual animals, either. ThereContinue reading “Feeding elephants”

Tuk tuks, red cabs … and elephants: arriving to Elephant Nature Park

The drive from Chiang Mai to the Elephant Nature Park is nothing short of surreal: from urban to highway to jungle in about an hour. And from cars and tuk tuks to elephants and ox on the side of the road. We start our first day as volunteers, 23 of us ranging in age fromContinue reading “Tuk tuks, red cabs … and elephants: arriving to Elephant Nature Park”

Sunday Night Market madness

The Sunday Night Market, in theory, sounds awesome. Cheap shopping. Cheap eats. Stall after stall of items you don’t need, but suddenly have to have. My kinda market. I should have known better. Crowds and D never mix. And yet, there I was, being the cheerleader for Katie, Isabelle and I heading out into theContinue reading “Sunday Night Market madness”