Chang Mai, Thailand
When we set off on this trip, one of our fantasizes was to visit an Elephant sanctuary–to live with, take care of and celebrate elephants. After doing much research of this idea–we decided Thailand was definitely the best place to live out this fantasy. However, as there seemed to be many “elephant sanctuaries” within Thailand –we soon began to realize that not all of them had the best intentions. This was the beginning of our sad realization regarding the unfortunate status of the Asian Elephant today. Because of deforestation problems–most of the elephants, that at one time were highly valued for their intelligence and hard labor, had now become burdensome to their owners and an inconvenience to society. Many were being abused, malnourished and forced to pay for their keep by walking in circles day after day carrying way too many fat tourists on their backs… After quite a bit of research I had found a few exceptions to this situation. These seemed to be organization that were aware of the epidemic and were determined to attempt to “sanctify” these animals. The one that we choose was called “The Elephant Home”. It was located in Chiang Mai– the northern part of Thailand. Before we knew it we were on a plane off to live out this dream. It all still seemed so unreal. The plan was to fly into the main city of Chang Mai and stay for 2 days, exploring the artistic area of northern Thailand. Then the elephant camp would pick us up and drive 2 hours to “The Elephant Home” to live with the elephants for 3 days 2 nights.
This plan changed slightly when we arrived in Chiang Mai and I began running a fever…. We had all been taking turns fighting off a cold but now it was my turn, and it hit me hard. Luckily we were staying at an incredible resort that had the perfect sick room for me– a large suite with black out drapes, air conditioning, and a huge luxurious mahogany four poster bed to lay in for 3 days straight. With room service at my beckon call, a dose of antibiotics and our natural turmeric warm milk concoction 3 times a day– I was better and ready to roll after only delaying our plans by one day. We were finally off. Thai Elephant Home here we come!! We all still had a hard time believing it was finally really going to happen….