Whew, the last weeks have been crazy: moving house, new school and neighborhood, overnight shifts at work… So, where did we leave off?
After the first couple of days in our villa, we decided to book a tour down the south of island. What seems like the number one thing to do in Thailand? Ride an elephant! We found a local travel agent and booked an afternoon trip to an elephant park, followed by a few hours to while away in the national park beach.
When we arrived at the elephant park…. well, we shouldn’t have been surprised at this, but it was a bit underwhelming. As it turned out, our “exotic elephant ride through the jungle” was about a 30-minute wander through a rubber plantation next to the highway. And we rode on benches strapped to the elephants’ shoulders rather than having direct body contact. It also would have been a nicer time if our guides hadn’t chattered away at each other in Thai the whole way. Anyway, it was a pretty obvious tourist trap, but the kids were totally oblivious to it – they thought it was fantastic, and I suppose that was the point!
After the ride, we got to feed the elephants some pineapples – tops and all.
Then the tour guide brought us to a secluded beach on the south tip of the island, where we we had the run of the place. There were barely any other people, the water was clear and calm, the sand was soft and clean. It was a perfect afternoon!
As it turned out, it was lucky we did the tour when we did, because the rest of our trip was rained out. We spent the last three days holed up in our villa, eating weird snacks from the 7-11 and watching our way through the DVDs in the house. We ventured out a couple of times, taking a quick trip “downtown” to go shopping: that was a bust, since downtown was just a strip of closed restaurants and a handful of souvenir shops, and an overgrown driving range. One night we found an English-style pub and enjoyed a few beers and baked potatoes. B found a store selling tiny NHL mugs from 1994 and couldn’t have been happier. So our only souvenir from Thailand is a 20-year-old Ottawa Senators shot glass mug. We also managed a final afternoon on the local beach, playing with hermit crabs and finding pretty shells to bring home.
Too soon it was time to head home – We had a house to move and all sorts of crazy things to sort out. More on that next time!