February 3, 2018
Of the 6,000 or so me beers of the Thai elephants herd, 3,000 reside on elephant farms or sanctuaries. The remaining are wild in the forest. The camp we visited today holds around 80. Each of them has their own personal handler who cares for them. There was almost one Mahmoud less today.
We arrived early to feed bananas and sugar cane. Peggy even got a few kisses in the exchange. Notice that I remained at a safe distance. The elephant show that followed demonstrated the willingness of the animals to learn in return for their daily River bath administered by their Mahmoud and plenty of food. We watched as they played soccer, painted a tree, and lifted some teak logs. By the way, elephants are no longer used in the forests as four legged tractors.
We were ready for the ride. We boarded our lady and headed into the jungle on a muddy, steep trail. Our Mahmoud urged on our steed. We reached a good spot for a photo. Our driver hopped off via a trunk assist along with another Mahmoud on another elephant. Suddenly, the bull next to us was out of control. You can picture two teams of American senior citizens atop crazed pachyderms with no idea what to do. Unfortunately, I had no camera or the video would have become viral. Our camera was with our Mahmoud who was running for his life. We soon found us lumbering on our driverless ride down the trail. I wasn’t too concerned as I figured our girl would stop when she reached the others ahead of us. Meanwhile, the angry bull was chasing our driver and disappeared into the forest carrying the nice Floridian retirees. Our girl finally found a muddy stream in which to cool her trunk. She managed to spray us with elephant mud. It will be time for a shower, if we survive. Obviously we did and now have another story to tell our Grandsons about the time we tamed the elephant.
After our Mahmoud found and retrieved our camera, we were ready for the relative calm of an orchid and butterfly farm. Orchids are not native to Thailand but they grow well in this environment. We took the pictures as our pulse rates were now back to normal. We once again boarded the bus and returned from the mountains to the city of Chiang Mai.
After a break, we went to meet our cooking teacher at the traditional vegetable market. If was an amusing introduction to the huge variety of stuff used by Thai cooks. The spice selection was the most intimidating. The selection of curry and ingredients were vast.
We ventured out of city for our cooking lesson. We each had our own cooking station and an array of tools. Our teacher would demonstrate and we would try to duplicate. We made a soup, a curry dish and a chicken dish. I needed a couple of beers to deal with the peppers. After the papaya and sweet sticky rice dessert, I was done. We were also done for the evening. Back to the hotel for our last night in Thailand.