Why I’m grateful for Chiang Mai

Three years ago, if you would have asked me about a future in Chiang Mai, I may have gone all glassy-eyed and distant. Chiang Mai was a dream to me three years ago. The elephants were a dream to me then, too. I lived in a world where I was not satisfied with my existence.Continue reading “Why I’m grateful for Chiang Mai”

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”

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”

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”

Speaking for the Elephants … in memory of Mae Sai Roong

Yesterday morning, when I turned on my computer after a night of restlessness, my heart sank. There, on the screen, were two Facebook status updates. One from the Elephant Nature Park & Foundation page stating Mae Sai Roong, an elephant our volunteer group had taken care of when she fell ill on Sept. 10, hadContinue reading “Speaking for the Elephants … in memory of Mae Sai Roong”

Escape of the Week: An Ele Family

Yes, another elephant Escape of the Week. Here’s the deal: I took about 500 photos of elephants, which is more than I took of any one city while I was traveling. Therefore, there is an obscene amount of elephant cuteness sitting on my laptop, begging to be shared with the world. But first, a noteContinue reading “Escape of the Week: An Ele Family”

Escape of the Week: A cool elephant

I met quite a large number of elephants during my week at the Elephant Nature Park, an amazing sanctuary where captive working elephants go to live out the rest of their lives free from abuse. While I was there, I learned each of them has unique personalities. However, despite their uniqueness, they have one thingContinue reading “Escape of the Week: A cool elephant”