Oh, thank goodness it’s not just one night!
I really wanted to write an entry at the end of every day, while everything is still fresh on my mind. No, this is not to brag for you readers about my amaaaazing trip, it is so that I can remember everything I did weeks and months and years from now. I don’t want to forget a single detail!
I am forced to start today, because my camera battery died part way through my day. Hopefully I will catch up later…
Today I went with a tour group to see a few sights outside of Bangkok. For 600 Baht (about $20 US), I would go to a Floating Market and see a Crocodile farm and Elephant Show. The tour was from 7AM-5PM. It was my first day “on my own”- apart from my friend. I was nervous. The tour place (MAMA tours) and buses were pretty… low-tech. But I’m so glad I went! My day was fantastic.
We started with the Floating Market. It was a long drive from Bangkok. When we got there, we hopped into a boat and our “driver” paddled us to the market. I was so excited to finally experience this!
The market is people shopping on boats. And people selling on boats and in stalls along the canal. It’s an interesting experience. The canals were very crowded and hectic, but it was so exciting to see everything going on. I bought a lot. I mean… A LOT! Along with touristy crap, there were dishes, clothing, and food. There were boats that were selling fruit and vegetables (I ate a delicious mango!) and then some boats were actually MAKING noodle and rice dishes in their boat.
There were a lot of traffic jams! I didn’t like that they allow boats with motors into the same area. It made it loud and stinky! We got to get off the boats for a while and walk around to the vendor carts along the canal. I got suckered into buying a whole bunch of stuff because I got the “pretty lady discount.” Yeah, whatever. It’s cool stuff, so I’m not that upset.
Then, it was onto a cheap lunch on a floating restaurant farther down the river. It was very pretty and relaxing and they had good chicken fried rice!
Next was the part I was really excited about… the crocodile farm and elephant show! It was at the same place… the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo. This is when I noticed my battery about to die. I was SO UPSET! I had to save it, but I still got some good pictures. We caught the end of an incredibly lame magic show. The tricks were fine, but the magician was so dumb and cheesy.
Then the elephant show started… It was supposed to be a history of elephants in Thailand, but they mostly just wanted to show off the cool elephant tricks. I did learn some interesting facts, like any white (albino) elephant that is discovered automatically becomes property of the king. The white elephant is considered royal property and is very rare.
The elephants did some cool formations and tricks.
I really reget not having enough battery to capture everything I wanted. The elephants did so many neat tricks like balancing on their front legs and noses. It was totally cute.
Then came a bunch of elephants in “soccer jerseys” and the people put up a sign saying “Elephant World Cup 2008 Thailand.” They played that “Ole Ole” soccer song and the elephants danced around and “warmed up.” Some of them seriously looked like soccer players getting ready on the field. Ronaldo was a total ham. Here he his, spinning is trunk round and round like a windmill. Later he spun a hoola hoop on there too.
There was a demonstration of elephants used in warfare. The elephants all came out in fancy dress and there was a full on battle reinactment, complete with cannons and fire!
After that, the show came to an end, but the excitement wasn’t over yet. Carts of bananas came out and you could buy a bunch for 10 Baht to feed to the elephants! I was all over that. I fed them my bananas and pet some of them for a while. They’re so gentle and beautiful. It’s really amazing to see them so close!
That picture was the last one I took today as that’s when my battery died.
I went on to the Crocodile Wrestling Show. This is the kind of craziness where people put their heads and arms inside crocodile mouths. It was a very short show, but it was crazy to watch. I almost couldn’t watch as one dude reached all the way into the croc’s mouth and down his throat. I was so sure I was about to see an arm get ripped off.
Then I toured the rest of the zoo/grounds. Here is where I missed my camera. The elephants were all out on display! And you could sit with them and have your picture taken. I settled for feeding some more. There were a few small elephants. But then I got to the tiny little baby elephant and it’s mother. OH MY GOD! It was SO CUTE! It was like a little Dumbo, but with smaller ears. It barely came up to my hip. I pet him a lot and the mom nuzzled my arm with her trunk, looking for banana treats. I got lots of elephant snot on me but I didn’t care. That little baby was just too cute for words.
Here’s a picture I found online. It was probably even cuter than this, if you can believe it. They’re Asian elephants (duh…) so they have smaller ears and this prickly hair on their heads. But the baby’s is still soft…
I wandered around until it was time to leave, and saw the hundreds of crocodiles. There were enclosures everywhere, seperated by age and type. I saw giant salt water crocs that were 20-70 years old! They were huge and scary!
And then it was back “home” to Bangkok. The tour was well worth it, although a little scary, just because I switched busses a lot. Oh, and by busses, I mean oversized vans. Although there was a point when I was sure it was my time to be sold into slavery, nothing bad happened and everyone was very friendly.
After I got back to Khao San Road, I had a while wander while waiting for my friend. I got a spring roll from a street cart and some iced green tea and did some serious people watching. It is just so different over here. On our way to get a cab, I got some pad Thai from a street cart (my friend thought this was very brave) and walked down the street eating it.
Oh! then, this scary dude bumped into me. I think he might have been Indian, but I’m talking like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom dark skinned creepy mountain people scary. And I don’t mean bumped. I mean shoved. I was next to a car, but not so close that someone couldn’t get by. Not to mention, um, that there’s a whole ROAD. Anyway, after he shoved me out of the way, this white tourist (I’m thinking Austrailian) quickly brushed by me and body checked the creepy dude in the exact same way he had done to me. Then he turned and looked at the guy and said really loudly “OH! EXCUSE ME!” I smiled at him. It was totally awesome. It’s nice to know that other tourists have your back!
I’m exhausted now. It’s 9:30PM here. I could be going out and doing things, but I’m just too tired. Tomorrow morning I have to get up early again to hop a bus to Samet Island. But I stay there for two glorious nights. This will be the true relaxation part of my vacation. Then it’s back to Bangkok and I will be going out and experiencing the night life!!