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What Neat Adventures Have You Guys Done?
This is a fun question! We have been able to do a couple of fun things, & are planning a few more. Here are some pictures from some adventures:
This is the baby elephant we got to feed bananas he is giving me a kiss (complete with kissing sounds!) here with his very strong, wet ended trunk. This was such an amazing interaction for all of us. It was very difficult to leave him behind (you know he that he is a boy because of the tusks) Katharine was enthralled with his big, kind eyes. Austin was enamored with the dexterity of his feet & trunk. Nathan was smitten with his childish, loving ways. & for me, elephants have always been my favorite mammal…this was a heart filling treat to be next to them all day, up close & personal, to feel their likes & dislikes (one female was very perturbed by the cows, while Katharine & I were riding her!)
This is not at all like riding a horse!!!! At one point we were starting to go down a hill. Napakhun, minding her own business, started smelling out this pile of food left out for the cows & naturally she wants to go that way… her owner kept telling her no, but she was insistent…I was all for whatever Napakhun wanted while my baby & I are on her back! Before we rode the elephants we were taught a lot about their body language. Tail, ears, head moving = happy elephant. Ears flat, tail down = not happy. During her desire to eat the cow food, HER EARS WERE FLAT AGAINST MY LEGS! Just seconds before the arguing between owner & Napakhun ensued they were flapping. I forced a smile & tried desperately to relax my body language, hoping she’d not pick up on my growing concern. In the end, Napakhun got 5 trunk fulls of cow food.
Pineapple Plantation & Mountainous Jungle Trek:
Here we are at a pineapple plantation. The trees behind us are a rubber tree plantation. There is a real problem with wild elephants gorging themselves on pineapple plants. It takes 6-8 months to grow them & a small elephant can consume up to & over 100 kilos a day! I had no idea Pineapples took so long to grow.
We went on a trek up into the mountainous jungles of southern Thailand…no easy path, but it was an amazing adventure where we were able to learn about local flora & fauna. There are fish in these rivers that the Thai do not eat because they taste very bad, but they swim upstream, just like the salmon. These fish are not trying to spawn, but are in search of food. Their nickname is : “the kissing fish” they try to suck on fingers & toes in search of food. Really unnerving when you first enter the cool water for a swim.
AWWWW the cute venomous viper! Just hanging out on the ”trail” (used lightly), looking like a harmless vine. You can tell he is venomous because he has a brown tipped tail. Apparently, they like to follow a short ways…as this one did me, they move very slowly because they have nothing to fear… I, however, moved like lightning…because I do fear! We were told that these guys are not deadly, they feel like 3x worse than a bee sting. (not a comfort to me!) Our teacher/guide told us not to worry about the cobras (these can kill you in >30minutes w/o antidote) while with a Thai…because the cobras are afraid of the Thai’s…they always catch cobras for soup. (again, not a comfort!)
Finally made it to this waterfall (taken from up high so the proportional view is off). The final 10th waterfall of this river takes 2 days to get to, we stopped at the 4th, which took ½ the day.
Nathan got to check off his bucket list & become a card carrying kite surfer. This means at most locations worldwide, he can rent equipment without needing a test. His instructor was a Polish guy who bums around the world teaching kite surfing, with vagabonding & teaching in common he & Nathan became fast friends.
Monkeys at Khao Takiab:
Khao Takiab, Chopstick Mountain, is also know as “Monkey Mountain” due to large numbers of monkeys (macaques) that are resident there. We were warned that care should be taken when they are around as they have a habit of grabbing and making off with anything that takes their fancy, especially handbags and cameras. It is probably better not to feed them as the larger males can sometimes become aggressive if the bananas have run out & they will bite. When we arrived the monkeys were banging on top to the corrugated tin roofs, scampering along screeching insults to each other. One pair on adolescents were playing a not so friendly game of tug -o-war with a pink stuffed creature. A child from the temple above screamed &started crying, an adult shouted “AH! AH!” & a whip from one of the monks could be heard snapping & then a monkey screeched. Who knows what happened. Shortly afterwards, we saw a father comforting his child who didn’t appear to be hurt in an emergency way. Nonetheless, we became extra cautious. All in all it was a great experience & we will most definitely be going back.