02.02.2015 - 02.02.2015 30 °C
Alan spent pretty much all last night practising his "Thai two-step" moves and "praying" repeatedly at the holy toilet, so opted to stay at the hotel and get some sleep today. Catriona, clearly made of much sterner stuff, left around 8 with the rest of the group for the Elephant sanctuary so at least we were represented! It seems I may have had a bad shrimp in my otherwise excellent Thai dinner at highly-recommended Huen Phen restaurant last evening.
At this sanctuary, the elephant herd (43 in all!) can roam a huge area and interact with people for their feeding and washing in the river. Catriona was able to get up close and personal with several of the gentle giants, who elsewhere in Thailand are still used to work in the jungle for clearing and hauling. It was a fabulous experience seeing the elephants in their family groups and learning more about their situation in Thailand. It was heartbreaking to see some of the abuses that the elephants had suffered in the logging, circus and begging industry and were still living with the effects of broken hips, blindness and broken bones. Lek has been rescuing since the late 1990s and was giving this large property to continue her work rescuing abused elephants. a number of baby elephants have been born here and the mothers choose a nanny and family group to help her look after them. We spent the day wandering around feeding, bathing them sitting in the sun watching them frolic in the river. What a wonderful day for Catriona and the group. Alan's better so we off to the Riverside restaurant tonight.