Mel and I felt like qualified experience specialists, sharing our stories and answering the questions of the spanking new group! 🙂
First day is a chill one: driving to the village (with a stop at the silk place) and start with lunch and siesta… Hard work! 😉 After that, we got to make our own sheet of poop paper! (It’s not as disgusting as it sounds…) We helped them out even more, with some arts and crafts, but mostly with plundering their shop for souvenirs.
On Tuesday, we headed out to cut bamboo (machete ninja action!), followed by my favorite visit: the baby elephants. Yes, plural! We drove to a second place, that apparently had a baby boom! At one point, there was some mayhem going on. The baby elephant grabbed my only long sleeved “cutting bamboo” shirt and was remarkably strong, pulling and almost ripping it completely. In the end, the little rascal only got hold of 1 button… At the same time, Heidi’s arm got grabbed and twisted by mama elephant. She was able to free herself, so suddenly, that she fell down on the ground! Real elephant commotion! 😀
Luckily, there were no more elephant shenanigans in the afternoon, when we walked them to the river. I picked out the biggest one, with a huge trunk and nicknamed her “Batwing”, because of the peculiar shape of her ears. I liked her… A lot… And “Black Beauty” (nicknamed for obvious reasons) was equally lovely in the water, shooting water in the air.
Day three was cleaning day. We spent the morning swiping and raking the community, clearing all the dry leftover bamboo and burning it in piles. Hard work isn’t so bad if you got something to look forward to: spending the afternoon at the river! The longing was real, especially with the rising temperature. But… Cleaning wasn’t over yet… One more stop to make… The dry bamboo at the house was piling up too, so… First things first! It’s so much more rewarding anyway, swimming in the river when you’re overheated, sweaty and covered in dust. Tanning in a kayak, taking a plunge in the warm river and trying to dodge the floating elephant poop… The good life!
Once my body temperature got back to normal (with a little extra help of the cold bucket shower), it was time for the evening market! I needed a new camera bag, some fruit and, of course, a slushy. One on my way in and one on my way out. Impossible to resist!
On Thursday, we started with walking the elephants to the river, because of the goodbye later that day. Tahmina and Heidi were leaving to Cambodia already, so our elephant group got a little smaller again. That didn’t mean we couldn’t fill up a truck with bamboo, though! Anything to get our reward afterwards: another visit to the baby. Before we could chill out at the house and enjoy our last evening of the week, Wandee’s house (Bank’s baby) needed some cleaning up.
Friday was a long, long day… I woke up at 4:30… The reason..? Well… My “sleeping on my belly” got interrupted by a stinging feeling in my boob area. When I reach down in my shirt to feel what was going on, I was suddenly holding something. It took me a couple of seconds to realize what it was and when I did, I instinctively threw it aside. I switched on my head light to conform my suspicion: it was a large “nipple nibbling” beetle. And because it started to fly around, I needed to get out of that room. Simple as that!
Luckily, our last morning was a very slow one. We were back at the “Elephant Dung Paper Project”, endlessly stamping and cutting out decorations. And in silence too, so we wouldn’t disrupt the shooting of a movie that was going on. (No idea what kind of shoot it was, but let’s hope I’ll be seen somewhere in the back, waving.)
On our way back to the town, I was planning on taking a long nap, to recover from the beetle night. But that plan failed miserably for 2 reasons: WiFi access and Melissa, who wanted to go out for a drink. At Sawasdee Bar, we started planning next week. Thai New Year was coming up, so that meant a very long weekend (from Wednesday to Monday) for us. We must have seemed like the most asocial people ever, searching for accommodation at the island Koh Chang on our phone, barely talking! After a not so successful search, we headed back home, by foot. We got half way and decided to stop complaining and take a bike tuk tuk instead. Poor skinny guy, cycling us all the way back, with us, cramped, on the tiny seat…
I welcomed my bed with open arms, but for some reason didn’t sleep straight away. And then it hit me: tomorrow is tattoo day…
P.S.: Don’t forget to check out the video on my YouTube page: