The eye of an Asian elephant at Elephant Nature Park, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Its still dark. From the picture window in our hotel the lights of Chiang Mai are subdued in the early morning hours….I have coffee in hand and the air-conditioner has finally kicked in to drop the temperature to 24 degrees.
My mind wasn't in the right place to update the blog last night, I needed time to reflect on our fabulous day and then I felt I could do it justice in my writing.
The Grand-kids were waiting for us at 8.30 am and this day was their Christmas present because they will be still traveling on the 25th. (but to be enjoyed by us all)
We don't do "Tourist" if we can help it… so our brief to our driver was to visit an Elephant village as far off the beaten track as possible…
The swing bridge across the Ping river made of bamboo and wooden planks was the first challenge for Chi especially as it moved under your feet when you walked and it swayed from side to side.
Why visit the Elephants?
In war and peace, Asian elephants have been a talisman to Thailand for thousands of years. Smaller and gentler than their African counterparts, they were well-suited for carrying kings or cargo. Young elephants were caught wild, trained in camps, and taught to work with people and respond to commands.
Not just beasts of burden, elephants are greatly loved and honored. Their image was emblazoned on the nation's (Siamese) flag, coins and Buddhist temples, representing strength, wisdom and victory.
I ran to the swing bridge for a better angle of the camera and held on for dear life to get a steady shot.
Some smart gal from Europe made derogatory comments about the size of my camera…. honey… this is the result. A bit better than your Ipad camera a I think.!!!! and my joy.
Next stop was a bamboo raft ride down the ping river.
It was an hour of pure bliss. Quiet, cool, and peaceful to the extreme. We saw a water snake, head held high in the water as it waved across in front of us, bright blue birds and the silence was just wonderful.
No tourist lunch either, we ate in the small restaurant by the river, it was delicious and cost about $5 per person (that included drinks)
Next, our Elephant trek through the jungle.
Its a little hard to manage a camera on the back of a swaying elephant. But Steve and Chi were in front of us and I wanted to capture the adventure.
For most of the trip we followed a small river, the rhythmic movement and sound of his feet in the water blended with the canopy of the jungle… it was just heaven.
This is the view we had… I vividly remember the damage those hairs did to my skin when I fell off an elephant some years ago and my arm and side fell pray to the sand paper effect of the skin and hair so I was a little nervous going down hill.
We continued through the Jungle and stopped at a small village.
Chi tried on a traditional head dress. This one is made for sale, but I need to do more research on the origins.
It was cool and delightful and we continued our journey through the jungle and then down along the river.
I felt sad it had to end, but we enjoyed every minute and we had other things to do during the day.
I wanted to talk with the ladies in the village and see how they create the beautiful textiles.
This piece is being constructed for the garment of the maker for Hmong New Year. Its cross stitch an tiny applique.
There are so many parts to completing a skirt like this.
First the fabric is woven, the embroidered panel completed, the batik is made and then appliqued and its finally pleated.
This piece has just been waxed.. you can see the pencil grid she's drawn the free hand created the way image.
Dyed in an indigo bath.
I purchased 5 yards of indigo dyed fabric from the maker… (about $5 per yard)
And I was stunned at this piece of cross stitch, so I bought this and eventually it will be Chianes' because she was with me and we both chose this pattern.
Its single thread cross stitch…
This is a red one we left behind!!!
We met so many wonderful people, most of the women were willing to share their work with us… What a privilege.
What a fabulous day…
My mind is on home right now.
We've had intense heat so I imaging the garden is a little sad…. however, work is beckoning and I'm excited to be home and officially getting the book out into the world.