Still here (and still working)

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 01, 2006

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hello, hope you are all good. Sorry about the lack of communication I am slack and lame and there is no excuse (am working really hard thought!)

I am still at the Wildlife Rescue Centre and absolutely loving it! It is hard work and long hours in the sun but so much fun. Don't you wish you were cleaning up bear crap at 6:30am in the morning?! My last day is Monday and I have been working here for 5 weeks, a week longer than planned and then its goodbye animals and hello beach! Am really looking forward to seeing Danny again but will be sad to leave the center as the animals are great as well as the staff and volunteers.

Promise to only give you the highlights of the last month or else this entry would be an essay. I finally had my first day off after working 14 days in a row (such dedication!). Went into Hue-Hin (the big town near by) with a few other volunteers and the volunteer coordinator who was at university with me (same course, different year). Went out for a meal and it was very strange not being at the volunteer center but great to eat different food! Two bars later and I (plus a few others) were singing our hearts out in a karaoke bar (why is it that seems like a good idea at the time?!). Bit of a late one but a nice lie in before spending the day at the beach. Two weeks later we were let out again for a birthday celebration which was a great night apart from ending up in the same karaoke bar and singing (just as badly) again!

In the last month lots of people have arrived and left so some weeks there are lots of volunteers and others we are dividing the jobs between only a few. Especially one week where a new enclosure for the tiger was being built so there were even less of us, still Mieow loves it and his mobility has improved as he is so excited about the enclosure he is much more active.

There have been a few escaped animals including one of the elephants loose in the forest which caused 10'000 baht worth of damage. Two macaques managed to climb up one of the fences onto the wall (a little scary) but thankfully were caught and put back. Today when I was eating breakfast one of the other volunteers came racing in shouting "the big macaques are loose!" Shit, panic stations as we all ran over, thankfully they were pretty easy to convince back into their enclosure!

There is a Belgium film crew at the center at the moment doing a feature on the wildlife park which is a bit strange, while feeding the animals there are cameras and big mic's all over the place but fun too. Yesterday as an enrichment for the bears we collected some ants nests from the forest to give to them but unfortunately when the last one was being thrown over it got stuck and one of the bears used it as a ladder to get onto the top of the wall and tried to come down the stairs! The film crew were of course filming at the time but with some yogurt the bear was coaxed back down the wall again. The hog-badger also escaped by tunneling under the wall and is somewhere in the forest, so far it's been a week of escapees!

It was Shakram, the Thai New Year (very strange saying happy new year to everyone and getting some chocolate Easter eggs in the post!) which involved getting very wet and trying to get everyone else very wet too. We went into the village where we were targeted by everyone (we had no amo either!) and then went to the river where I spent most of the time getting attacked by the kids (as well as by the other volunteers) and being rugby tackled under water - it was great!

It was an exciting time when the cook ran off (twice thats happened now!) so still tofu and rice for lunch and dinner every night but now it has a slightly different flavour (its the small things i life!).

I am completely covered in bites, scratches and scars and am quite proud of the impressive teeth mark scars on my arm from one of the macaques I was trying to lock out of his enclosure. The first time I did it he went for me and I let go meaning he got the padlock which then took an hour, a hose, peanuts and banana to get back! The second time I was so determined not to let him have the padlock or keys that I just didn't let go, he bit me but he didn't get the padlock! The bruise and scratches have gone but the teeth marks are still there!

There have been 4 kittens left outside the center from people who don't want them and I have found three of them! The first about 9 weeks old called 'Chang' (meaning elephant!) we kept at the center for a few days to fatten her up before taking her to the temple near by. There were many arguments over who got to keep her at night! A few days later a few of us were walking to the village and suddenly the dogs were going mad and there was two 5 week old kittens on a bag, it was a struggle to keep the dogs away and pick them up but we did and after checking them out we took them up to the temple too. Each day now a few of us are taking up food for all the (many, many) cats up there. Wish I could take them home!

Was not very well a couple of weeks ago for a week which happened to coincide with the night one of the volunteers cooked a western meal for everyone (sure it wasn't that Phil!) which was not much fun but I carried on working valiantly!

A few other things have been I was asked if I wanted to help with a preliminary animal behaviour study on the baby bears which I was excited about. Unfortunately the project didn't go ahead which was a shame. But it was still fun to sit and watch the bears and record their behaviours and do sketches to identify their markings, it felt like being at uni again! I got given a snake by this guy who wanted to sell it to the center but the center never buys animals as that supports the illegal wildlife trade so after much negotiation he agreed to give it for free - yes! We have just had 6 new piglets arrive, everyone is worried about the baby gibbons in quarantine as one of the baby gibbons died of a bacteria infection (fingers crossed about the rest but so far they all seem healthy), Elton the football playing hornbill is still annoying and I earned lots of points by jumping off the bridge into the river and I cant believe I only have one more day left!

So tomorrow is my last day, a leaving thing in Hue-Hin and then it's off to Sumui for Danny, beaches, a few days relaxing and deciding what we are going to do next. Really looking forward to seeing all the England-ites in July and promise to update soon xx
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bathmateus on

that's a good blog.


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