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Random notes

That you might find interesting..or not...but I do.

sunny 34 °C

Written on April 24....

I write this blog as much for the pleasure of sharing my trip with you, as for the fact that I plan to print all the entries when I get back home and keep this as a souvenir of this trip (I tried but can't be bothered to write a "journal"). SO anyway, the following are random info and bits of things that I want to write down somewhere.

At Nosey Parker's elephant trekking, we were lucky to meet with a very knowledgeable (and more importantly, decent english-speaking, Thai guy). He said his name was Monkey, but somehow, I doubt!
He talked to us about the life of elephants. Doing these tourist tours, they work approx 4 hours/day, and by work, we mean "walk around". This is much easier than the alternative: working in the jungle deforesting, a tough physical job, done all day long without proper breaks, until death. When they get too hot, the elephants get grumpy and must take a "bath break", where they submerge themselves in a little creek on the property. Our elephant was a bit grumpy during our ride (she would stop by trees and scratch herself for a while, or go straight into a leafy tree and help herself to some leaves and small branches), so she got to go in the water after. Unfortunatly, Aliya had loaded my memory card (we found out just as our elephant was going in the water), so there aren't any pics of the event. In any case, it looked fun and relaxing for the animal.
They eat pineapple trees (you may remember a pic of it in a previous entry) and other random green stuff.

Thailand's main poduction is of Palm oil and rubber. The elephant ride went through a rubber tree forest. The bark of these trees is stripped (a little, but over time, it adds up to a lot) and the sap is collected in hollowed coconut shells (kinda like traditional maple water collected in buckets). This water is then shipped to production plants where it is processed and becomes our "good old rubber". One can apparently tell the difference between rubber from trees vs from petrol... Because the weather is so hot, the trees are normally poked around 2-3am and the sap collected around sunrise. Each tree can only produce sap for a few years. After that, it's been too damaged from the bark being stripped and is cut down to leave room for a new small tree.

Palm tree plantations (not to be confused with coconut trees) can be seen throughout the south of Thailand (and maybe the North, I don't know, haven't been yet). The oil produced by these trees is mainly used for cooking (no wonder the Thais are not exactly a "slim" people - compared to other asian peoples - all that frying (almost everything is stir-fried here) in palm oil (one of the oils with the highest levels of saturated fats!). Apparently the leaves are also sometimes (other than when used for traditional/low budget roofs) to be mixed with marijuana (which is highly illegal here!) and people smoke it "but not me" he said! hehehe

Things that Thai people laugh at/with me for:
When they teach me a new word or expression,
The next Thai person when I try to use the word or expression! hehehe
When we eat food that soo hot we hurt, sweat heavily and/or almost cry!
When we try something (mainly food) that farangs normally don't try (i.e. they have a sort of ice cone where they shread ice and douse it with sweet sirup -I haven't seen this in touristy areas, but it's fairly common when we wanter off in local markets - It's quite good! too)
I can't think of anything else right now, but the list should be a lot longer! hehehe

Something else that's funny and sometimes difficult to notice (but sometimes very obvious) : Thai people say yes when they don't really know what you're talking about (kinda their version of our "smile and nod" I guess... hehehe something I do a lot of here!) A very obvious example, in Krabi, our hotel had safety boxes on a wall in the main lobby (accessible to anyone walking by), but with a double lock and 2 distinct keys (hotel kept 1, we kept the other -both were needed to open the box), similar to a safety box at the bank (or what I've seen in movies of it). It seemed safe and sturdy, but I asked the lady if people were breaking into them sometimes/often. She was adamant " yes, yes, yes", I rephrased: do people steal from here? Her: big smile, wide eyes "yes yes yes yes" hehehe, 1 more attempt: pointing at the main outside door, enacting (not very well I'll admit) someone walking in and trying to beak the lock, she never stopped saying yes, yes! hehehe! she had no idea what I was asking her! hehehe

Of course, now that I take the time to write down the random stuff I've been wanting to write down, it doesn't come to me anymore! arrgghh! Well, I'lls imply edit this later.

On a different note, we bought our ticket to Cambodia yesterday, leaving tomorrow. It seems like it's going to be a crazy journey. The bus ride to the border is apparently quite easy and comfy (2-3 hours), however, the roads on the other side are apparently worst than anything we've ever seen (or can imagine) - and the trip can take several several hours. I'm planning ahead and will be wearing a sports bra tomorrow ! hehehe
Based on reccs from Lonely Plant and other people, we wanted to get a ride to the border only and take it from there (aka cab it -it's much less expensive here than in Canada, much much much), but the price was the same for a full trip as for a "border trip", so we bought a ticket for the whole thing and will decide there if we prefer to take a taxi...it's nice to have options.
Once again, it seems that what I call the "cattle run" is cheaper than doing it ourselves. A local "government" bus is approx 250B to a town 6k of the border, then we're on our own, but when we factor in the cost to get to the bus terminal, then to the border and after ont he Cambodia side, a 300B "all included" trip is just so much cheaper!!!! I hate that it's easier and cheaper to go on chartered "tourist' cattle run" groups than on our own, but such is life here I guess...
I'll let you know how it goes!!!

Posted by Mistrale 22:31 Archived in Thailand

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