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breatheDEEP goes global - Roadtrip report #10


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Elephants, Flowers, and hanging with an Expat

I had seen about enough temples for the trip so I decided to hang out with the expat Kelly and his wife and go around to places Thais go to for fun. Pan and Kelly's wife are best friends, so they had no problem with this. Kelly is the person who originally gave me Pans phone number.

Taxis are a little less frequent in Chiang Mai, so we rented a Tuk-tuk for the day. It will just barely hold 4 of us. The cost was a quite reasonable 400bt ($10) for the driver and vehicle for the day.

The first place we went was an Elephant Farm, with the obligitory 2 stops for snacks on the way.

I had no idea elephants were so smart. We watched the elephants do some truly amazing things. Playing the harmonica was suprising, but not too outrageous. Playing Soccer was suprising. Elephants painting pictures was not something I expected to see. They did it while I watched. Honest, they really really did. I SAW it.

Later elephants were taking their trainers hats, placing them on people, and patting them on the head. I did not understand this until Kelly explained: The elephant is a sacred symbol of Thailand, and the Thai people revere elephants as a symbol of their country. To be patted on the head by an elephant is considered very very good luck.

The gesture Pan is making to the elephant in the photo is known as a "wai". Thais wai each other as a sign of respect or deference upon meeting. In general the higher your hands the higher the respect. The tips of her fingers are almost touching her hair, so this is a "wai" of great respect.

On the way back from the Elephant Farm, Not spotted an Orchid farm that she thought I might like to see.. I love orchids, and I used to run an nursery, so we stopped and looked around while Kelly and Not waited outside.. Beautiful flowers...

Regards from the Road,


pictures at www.jaggedweb.com

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