Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back to Bangkok, but more importantly: elephants!!!

Well, it has been a rainy, awful, unproductive week. Unproductive because of the rain. However, there were a few highlights. One being dinner last night. I went out to "Moo Kata" with Jackie (grad student who did her dissertation research here two years ago and is here for a visit) her assistant Josh, Jambee (the neighbor of the old house) her daughter, and Bon (woman who works at the park convenience store). This is a kind of buffet that is adapted from Korean Barbecue. There is a bowl of hot coals and a little metal device sits on top. A picture is the best way to describe it.

So you cook like leafy greens and glass noodles in the broth on the perimeter and grill meat and seafood on top. You use different sauces to spice it up before you eat it. It is a really fun way to go out with friends. Its nice because it takes a while and you sort of just eat and cook slowly as you go. Afterward we went to Swensen's for ice cream. It was my first time going here, and apparently it is an American company but I have never heard of it.

I woke up this morning, and it wasn't raining, which was a good sign, but the sky looked awful. We had been stuck in the past two days due to nonstop rain, so we went out anyway. We had just hung the loudseaker when it started raining, so we gave up and packed it in. It rained on and off in the early morning. The rangers said the forecast wouldn't improve for a few more days, so we made a last minute decision to come to Bangkok this weekend rather than next to renew my visa. We decided to take the southern exit of the park to get to Bangkok this time to try it out. It takes longer to get to the southern entrance. When we got there, we parked and waited for a vehicle to exit the park and hitchhiked a ride to a nearby city to catch the bus. This was my first hitchhiking experience. I am really amazed at Thai people's helpfulness and generosity. Whether it be to give strangers a ride or to insist on carrying something for someone, they always want to help (sometimes to the point of being annoying). We took a minibus from Nakon Nayok to Bangkok, which was just over an hour-long trip, better than the three hour ride from Pak Chong, but all in all, with driving to the entrance and hitchhiking it really wasn't a much faster experience. It was about half the price though. People here tend to suggest minibuses as a better option, and they are usually more expensive, but I actually find them a more uncomfortable experience than regular buses. The capacity is 16 people and let me tell you, usually all 16 seats are full. There is no storage space for bags, so you sit there like a sardine with your bag on your lap. It is unpleasant. We finally made it to our hotel in Bangkok around 4:00 and were absolutely starving. We ate a late lunch or early dinner at the Tesco Lotus cafeteria and will probably go to the night market for a snack later on.

The best part of the day though, was seeing three elephants in broad daylight on our way out of the park! There were two females and a baby. It was pretty awesome and I got some great photos because the lighting was much better than last time. They weren;t in much of a hurry so we had plenty of time to take photos, and I went a little overboard.

 And proof I was actually with them and didn't just find these photos on the internet or something. Don't mind the crazy, wind-blown, open window hair.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! We were lucky to see them in the daytime and have such good lighting to photograph them in!