Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thailand- Chiang Mai

On day 3 we boarded to Chiang Mai from Bangkok and the flight was only an hour and a half. Short and sweet, thank God. Once we got there we checked into our hotel and got recommendations for food. 

 Our hotel recommended The Whole Earth and we were very pleased! Aside from being on the menu for the mosquitos, it was awesome and the property was beautiful. The food was really good and I even tried mango and sticky rice, not my favorite. Oh and we used mosquito spray like it was going out of style!!! Do not fool yourself, they are not to be played with. Chiang Mai is pretty much jungle and they attacked us as soon as we got out of our cab. They were swarming our hotel and were relentless. A lot of people ask me why we chose Thailand as our destination and well Zika took a lot of places off the list for this mama!

 Our adventure for day 1 in Chiang Mai was an ATV ride through the jungle.

We stopped at a store and we were shocked by the cigarette packages. It's the law here in Thailand that all packages have these images on them. Unfortunately I don't think they make much of a difference, lots of smokers. 

Night 1 in Chiang Mai consisted of night markets. This night market was a little more interesting than the other one we'd been to.

 Fish pedicures were definitely on Somaiya and I's list of things to experience. It took so much to put my feet in that water but I knew I wanted to do it. I cannot describe the amount of giggles we had. It felt so strange and tickled like nobody's business! The treatment was supposed to last 15 minutes and I lasted about 5. I just couldn't take it, every second I thought I was gonna quit, Tj did, immediately!!!

 They attacked De's feet like they hadn't eaten in years!!!

And ohhhh the lady boys! They put on a show and it was hilarious. Lady boys are EVERYWHERE in Thailand and some of them are gorgeous. But you may want to avoid them in the case of the massage pallors, or maybe you don't, your business. Either way, they were very entertaining. I heard from a lot of people to be careful about the massages over there and to just get a foot massage to be safe. But honestly that's not true, just use your eyes. If you see some questionable looking ladies at the door and no one in the joint is in a uniform, keep it moving. It was pretty easy to tell the professional establishments from the janky ones. But we did not escape Thailand without one of the guys getting a indecent offer from a masseuse.

 This was my second hour foot massage of the trip and for 200 bahts a pop, there were more to come for all of us.

 We were running off of 2.5 hours of sleep the night before and we were all getting run down. Still trying to get adjusted to the time change, we weren't sleeping much. I'm surprised I even made it through the night without packing it up to the hotel.

 Day 2 in Chiang Mai was a highlight of the trip no doubt! We drove an hour and a half on the back of this truck through some rough conditions to get to our destination.

 We were so excited, well I was!

 The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary was recommended to me by my coworker who had just come back from Thailand weeks earlier. We were at camp #4 which was the only one that had a baby elephant, and soon to have two.

See that big bulge on the elephant in front? She was due with her baby in a week. We could see the baby moving inside her and it was pretty nuts to feel it. 

 Somaiya was the first person to get in there and feed these huge ladies. The camp is a refuge for the elephants that have been ridden. The elephants that are used for riding die much sooner because they are worked so hard and not given the proper amount of food and water. They do not have any males because they are very unpredictable during mating season. We heard a really sad story that one of male elephants killed his handler of 20 years during his "crazy time" as our guide described with her adorable accent. The camp does not use sticks with elephants and each elephant has one handler that they trust and will listen to. In this particular family there was a grandmother who was 55, a couple of daughters (one who was pregnant), and a grandchild who was 3 years old.

Me and mama elephant!

The elephant kisses were definitely an experience. They gave us these shirts to put on so the elephants would identify us as people they knew and we comfortable with.

 The second family we spent time with was just rescued 2 weeks earlier. This family was malnourished and it was obvious. The baby weighed in at 330 lbs at just 2 months old! She hadn't been named yet, they wait until they are about 5 months to name them. She was really playful and you had to be very careful of your feet because she liked to run into you.

There was also a 1.5 year old in the family, the one right beside the baby.

 Elephants nurse their young for 5 years!!

 We took the elephants down to the river to bathe them.

Night 2 in Chiang Mai started with mocktails (for me), but not before we took a serious nap. We found a really cool market with food trucks and live music. 

 Next stop…Ko Phi Phi island!

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