Heartbreak and healing at Elephant Nature Park

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js // <![CDATA[ (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); // ]]> Mae Sai Roong lays on the ground. She looks so little compared to the throngs of people around here — the Elephant Nature Park volunteers, the vets, the mahouts, Lek — all scrambling to make sure she doesn’t give up on life just yet. EveryContinue reading “Heartbreak and healing at Elephant Nature Park”

Que Sera Sera

“Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be. The future is ours, you’ll see, que sera sera,” Lek sings softly to the baby elephant, Faa Mai, as she sits on the dirt between the animal’s front legs. I watch, silently, in awe. Lek singing to her is a beautiful moment between friends. To me, someoneContinue reading “Que Sera Sera”

Volunteers and a vet: an afternoon of healing elephants

I stand, along with three other volunteers, watching one of the Elephant Nature Park’s veterinarian’s squirt antiseptic into the mangled foot of Sri Prae. It is purple, covered in medicine to keep it from getting infected. And, it’s disfigured, partially blown off after accidentally stepping on a land mine years back when she was inContinue reading “Volunteers and a vet: an afternoon of healing elephants”

Up-close with elephants: a photo essay of life with a herd

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js // <![CDATA[ (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); // ]]> Thick, leathery gray legs covered with a layer of thick, wet, chocolate-colored dirt, surround me. At first, I am apprehensive. On all sides of me are six-ton elephants. Capable of plowing me over. I look over to Lek, the founder of Elephant Nature Park, withContinue reading “Up-close with elephants: a photo essay of life with a herd”

The A-Z of D Travels ‘Round

Happy 2012! Well, Happy 2012 a few days early. While everyone is either dragging themselves into work for the short week, or spending time on a lil’ holiday, I figured now is the time for some fun travel stories. I’m not doing a “Best of” this year, but when the opportunity to participate in theContinue reading “The A-Z of D Travels ‘Round”

Travel Bloggers Give Back: The Elephant Nature Park

I will never forget the first time I reached my hand out and touched the pink-speckled trunk of an Asian elephant. Towering over me, this beautiful girl stood, flapping her large ears in the late summer heat of Thailand. She stood in front our little group of volunteers, all of us nearly speechless at ourContinue reading “Travel Bloggers Give Back: The Elephant Nature Park”

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”

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”

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”