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Thai Elephant Conservation Centre

Check out the size of our bed?! Can you believe it!

Right now I’m freshly showered and sprawled on said enormous bed…and totally exhausted…but before I forget anything I want to write about today.

ELEPHANTS! We rode ELEPHANTS!!!

At some insane hour of the morning we got in a taxi and drove 70ks (about an hour) from Chiang Mai toward Lampang, to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. It was amazing!!

We each had our ‘own’ elephant for the day, with the elephant’s mahout (trainer) to help us. We learned how to climb up and down (they are HUGE!! I was a bit nervous at first – long way to fall) and how to give them commands. All the elephants have their own personality – I was riding Jan Pen who was the perfect match for me since we are both lazy relaxed. Always at the back of the line and running late – sounds about right for me, doesn’t it?! Ha!

Menzel’s elephant was called Jan Daeng and in contrast she was always racing to the front…so I spent a lot of time watching his back disappearing into the distance.

The staff were so great, I wasn’t sure what it would be like but once we manage to find the right place (thankyou patient taxi driver) they were just fantastic. Great English, and really knowledgeable too.

By the way, speaking of our patient taxi guy…the hotel organised that for us and said it would be 1800 baht. We were like man, rip off – cause we’d heard it was 1200 – but I wasn’t confident taking the bus so we just went for it.

Actually as it turned out, the driver hung around all day (7am to 3:45pm) at the elephant sanctuary and drove us back too. So 900 baht (about $25-30) each way for a 70km trip AND waiting there all day!

I wasn’t sure if their trunks were like noses or what, but they’re all wet and snuffly! The tip of the trunk curls like a finger to grab stuff – I was amazed at how dexterous they are.

We got to see baby elephants, and the hospital – they take sick and abandoned elephants from all over Thailand and care for them free of charge. Apparently here anyone can own an elephant – you can buy and sell it just like a car or a dog. Crazy. Also an elephant show (yup, including elephant painting) and how they make paper from elephant dung.

They are such cool animals, I can’t get over it. Tonight we were walking down the street and I just kept poking Menzel and saying, “Can you believe we were riding an elephant today!! RIDING. AN. ELEPHANT!” Yes, I may never get over it…probably still be telling all the fogies in the nursing home when I’m 100.

By the way, Chiang Mai is much nicer than Bangkok. And that is an understatement actually. BKK is interesting, but CM is easy to get around and less stressful – people seem more relaxed here. So glad we came. Recommend all Thailand tourists skip BK and come straight up here, haha!

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Bangkok // First impressions, MBK and Siam

We sat outside tonight, dangling our feet in the pool and watching lightning flicker through the thick clouds beyond our hotel. It was kinda eerie because you could see so much lightning but hear no thunder at all.

When we arrived yesterday I found myself inexplicably nervous. Somehow the relative familiarity of Singapore had made me even more wound up about Thailand. When we quietly went through customs I found myself surveying everyone around me and wondering if my shorts were too short. If I was somehow offending someone. I had a momentary panic and needed reassurance that Australians don’t need a visa for a temporary holiday. Get it together Jess! I sailed through customs without a word and we tumbled out into the heat of Thailand to queue for a taxi.

I should mention just GETTING a taxi is relative luxury for Menzel and I. We are definitely budget, public transport travellers! Taxis are so foreign to us. Of course the first thing we did was get a bit ripped off when the driver didn’t use the meter, but it was still so cheap compared to Australia, we didn’t even think about it.

Bangkok at night did not make the best first impression on me. It seemed a bit sleazy, a bit shabby, more than a bit dodgy.

Today, we had a super brekky – ceral and pancakes!! I congratulated myself thinking how horrified Dad would be, then we hiked up the road to the BTS to the huge mall MBK. Once we got our heads around converting prices, and understanding who was ripping you off and how to haggle, it was awesome fun! I bought a few things. A few. Just a few! My feet are killing me tonight but it was worth it.

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Glen - November 18, 2009 - 8:44 pm

Pics look awesome. (we need more photos of food!) Hope ur having a great time over there!

Singapore

We arrived in Singapore last night. I’ve been a few years ago and my first thought was the same as it was then: everything is so LUSH. Australia, especially Adelaide, just seems more grey than green…here, everything is so rich and green and tropical.

The city seems really liveable, it’s small enough to get around easily but big enough to have things to do. Public transport is efficient and I’m still surprised at how cheap it is!

Our hotel is a bit average. Last night our smoke alarm went off randomly at midnight (2:30am Australian time, our tired bodies reminded us) then an hour later our neighbours came home. Apparently they are deaf because they had a shouted conversation for a few minutes then turned the TV up so loud it would’ve drowned out a 747 taking off. Why yes, our walls are quite thin.

Today we picked up a new toy for me, then went to check out Little India. It was just like I imagine the real India would be…colourful and exciting but also quite dirty and a bit gross. We actually saw a bird fly in and start nibbling meat scraps on a butcher’s block in the market! On the bright side, everything was so pretty and exciting and I had the most delicious mango lassi ever.

Yeah, a whole coconut to drink. That’s how I roll!

Tonight we’re going to a Night Safari at the zoo, then hopefully coming home to a nice quiet snooze…no smoke alarm, no neighbours, just peaceful silent bliss. Well, a girl can dream.

Our internet is a bit limited (and INSANELY expensive in our hotel) but I’ll try and upload some pics soon Pics now!

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Melina & Jason // Adelaide wedding

I love relaxed weddings. Being with someone you love is relaxed, comfortable, chilled out…so it makes perfect sense to me that that’s how a wedding should be too. I’m all for the minimum amount of stress possible!

It was a sunny 35 degrees on Saturday but Melina breezed into the ceremony in this stunning dress looking a million bucks.

Jason had admitted before the ceremony that he was a little nervous…

The first kiss as Mr and Mrs Kendle!

How gorgeous is this little chunky money? He was so handsome in his little shirt too!

Melina, you looked absolutely STUNNING. I was a little bit jealous, I admit:)

Congratulations guys – thanks for letting me be a part of your big day! Heres to many more years of happiness to come. xx

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