To The Elephant Camp We Go

Trip Start Jan 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 28, 2011

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

We began our day with a nice American breakfast at 7:30 am. We departed for the Maetaman Elephant Camp. This year each of the American students were assigned to two Thai students. This year the Thai students want to be involved with the American students as much as they can. So, both Thai students accompanied each American student to the Elephant camp today. The students are helping one another learn each others' language. They are teaching one another songs, games and phrases. It is really fun to watch.

The camp is approx. 30--40 minutes north of BCNC. Upon our arrival students wanted to get a group picture with the entrance sign. Following the photo shoot we watched the trainers bathe the elephants in the river. Now that the elephants were clean, they were ready to take part in the 1 hr. talent show. We saw elephants play basketball, soccer, paint, twirl rings, play dead, pose in numerous positions and perform stunts with their trainers. The students really enjoyed the show. Many of the students posed with the elephant for pictures and fed them sugar cane.

Following the elephant show, we rode on an ox-drawn cart ride. Each pair of oxen could pull a wagon with 4 people on it. An all wood cart is not the smoothest ride on earth. This was the funniest part of the trip. I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt. On my cart was Nong Maew, Aj, Newie, another student and myself. The driver asked if we wanted him to take a picture of us. I said yes and gave him my camera. He handed the reigns over to Nong Maew as he got down off the cart to take our pictures. Well, I believe Nong Maew started to pull back on the reigns. In so doing the oxen began to move backwards. The problem was, we were sitting on the edge of a hill. So, when the oxen moved backwards the cart began to move backwards and we almost fell off the side of the hill. You should have seen the look on Nong Maew's face. It was sheer terror. She was yelling at the driver. Aj Newie, from the back, was leaning over my seat, yelling and grabbing the reigns too. 'The driver kept taking our picture and would not respond to their call for help. It was as if he wanted to see us fall off the hill. I just laughed and laughed.

Next, was the 45 min. elephant ride through the jungle. The weather today was just perfect. The sky was a little overcast and there was a slight breeze keeping the temp around the high 70's. So it never got really hot. the ride in the jungle was so pretty and relaxing. The students were scared to death when the elephants would go up or down a hill. They felt as if they were going to fall. I believe all of the students thought this was the best part of the day. Many if not all of the students purchased their photo of them on the elephant. The picture was then placed in a frame that was made of elephant dung. Since the elephants eat sugar cane and bananas, their feces are primarily fiber. They take this fiber and then recycle it into paper. Some students purchased additional elephant poop paper. At lunch they were passing it around and sniffing it. I had to laugh because it has no odor but their instinct was to smell it.

We had lunch at the camp. The students said this was the best meal to date. We had Massaman Curry, rice, fried chicken, stir fried vegetables, salad, noodle dish and guava. They even had ice cream for dessert. Following lunch we headed down the river on a bamboo raft. Each raft had 2 drivers. One in the back and one in the front. Small benches were placed on the rafts and handled 3 - 6 people per raft. The raft ride was approximately 45 minutes in length. It was very relaxing. Some of the students were given a bamboo stick to assist with steering. An elderly villager came up the river in a long narrow canoe and sold us coconut, soda and water. Several students bought the coconut for a refreshing drink. The man created a hole on the top of the coconut and poked a straw through the top for drinking the coconut milk. Some students enjoyed it, others did not.

We returned back to campus around 3 pm which allows me to update my blog and catch a little nap before we go to the Winter Red Cross Fair. My students are going tonight with our orange BCNC shirts and will be asked to participate in the fundraiser events for BCNC. I am sure that they will recruit one or two American students to MC the show. I wonder who that will be.
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Marti on

Well, you got me busting a gut laughing! I can just imagine you laughing while others are close to a heart attack. It is one funny site to imagine in one's mind! Glad you're all okay however. I'm trying to get adjusted to York hospital and bemoaning the fact that they have insufficient written instructions for how to navigate the place. And, how you ever keep up with a number of students in that convoluted ED is completely beyond me! Greetings to all

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