Ok…here is another surreal day that would take hours to accuratly describe but we will try to set the scene the best we can. At 8:30 am we were picked up by a driver from the Elephant Nature Park to head to the local market to help load watermelons (25 kilograms per bag) and tons of bananas filling up the back of a pickup truck..assembly line style!!
Now on to the park which took about an hour into the mountains outside of Chiang Mai. The elephants were in a valley surrounded by the local hill tribes high above!!! Our first order of “business” was to feed the elephants from a deck/platform which brought us very up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. We were told the stories of each of the 31 rescued ellies some which broke your heart absolutely in two!!!!!
After a fantastic spread of home cooked Thai food for lunch we were led down to the river with elephants and mahouts in tow to bathe these giant beauties!!!! Little did Diana and I know what an honor was to be granted to us. Because of my eye issues and cane, one of the staff “Jody” took us under her wing and gave us a private walk with 2 very important elephants elepants at the park.
Mae Perm and Jokia were the ellie girls we were introduced to on a very personal basis. Jokia was completely blind and Mae Perm is her helper and best friend. Diana and I just looked at one another with tears welling up in our eyes and said “they are just like US”!!!
At the time…while we were socializing with our elephant counterparts, we assumed that the other guest were also with grouping off and bonding with an elephant or two like us…and to our surprise when our girls moved off to graze and we turned around…we found all the other guests grouped around the mud wallow watching the elephants doing mud baths. We were the ONLY ones who got to have a one on one experience!!!!!!!
We also met a beautiful young male ellie named HOPE who was inspiring and stunning. Just a round elephant all over!!! One of the Karen villages contacted Lek and told her they had a one week old baby whos mother died of disease. She made a long journey into the forest and rescued him and has raised him at the park. He inspired a wonderful t shirt slogan in the gift shop which states “PEACE + LOVE = HOPE”. He was a hoot…a real ambassador for the park giving kisses to everyone. We have smooch marks to prove it!
Will update more with tons of pix to come. Check out the other posts at https://sandramiller.com to catch up on all the blog entries and click on COMMENTS under each post to read comments and add your own.