Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Off to Thailand

I have been missing in action! Missing from my life here in Abu Dhabi. So many travels and wonderful places to visit in the last few months. I think...No! I KNOW...I am addicted to traveling. Every time I pull my suitcase out to pack, I feel that tingle of excitement, that sense of adventure, that niggling thought that I am going to experience something special, something to marvel about, something wonderful. Whether it's watching a storm blow in across the water, petting the new hair on a baby elephant's head, or finding a special treasure in the local market, I know it's going to be a good time. Happy feet will take you so many fun places!

My favorite part of Thailand is all the wonderful food. Yum! From the exciting floating markets to the fresh fruit markets, it's a wonderland of sense, smell, and taste. So far I haven't found anything in Thailand to eat that I didn't like. I know I will never be super skinny because I like too eat too much!
It was really fun to participate in a Thai Cooking Course so that we could bring some of the taste of Thailand home with us.
It was great fun to eat all the dishes we made and we did graduate so I guess I'm good to go on Thai cooking.

These look live real flowers but actually they are carved from Dove soap bars and painted these wonderful colors. Exquisite craftsmanship and they smell wonderful as well.

Baby elephants are so soft and just want to take them home with you! Mike loved this little guy.

Buddhist statues and temples adorn the country and are everywhere.

I found this an especially beautiful temple, done all in white. It was in the remote country side, near a small village.

If you love textiles you will love the wonderful silks produced in Thailand. Such vibrant colors!!! It was fascinating to watch this young woman weave the delicate threads into a piece of cloth with very intricate designs.

A visit to the Bridge over the River Kwae and the JEATH War Museum was a sobering reminder of the number of POW's who died during World War II in the construction of what came to be known as the Death Railway. It was a strategic railway built between Thailand and Burma. Japanese engineers predicted it would take at least 5 years to construct the railway, but the Japanese army forced the prisoners to complete it in only 16 months. Over 116,000 workers died during the construction due to disease, starvation, and lack of medical care. Allied forces destroyed the bridge during the war but it was later repaired and is still used today.

A visit to the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery or the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi was the highlight of our trip to Thailand. The wildlife sanctuary was established in 1994 when the monastery took in injured jungle fowl. When a wild boar stumbled into the monastery the monks cared for him until he could be released back into the forest. This boar returned with his family group of about 10 animals and took up residence on the sanctuary. Villagers also started to bring in unwanted pets and injured animals and soon the menagerie of animals began to grow.

The first orphaned tiger cub arrived at the Monastery in February of 1999. Though the tigers in this area are protected, poaching still occurs rather frequently. A Thai poacher will make US$ 5,800 for killing an adult tiger (several year's salary for a farmer) making the profit well worth the risk. When the mother tiger is killed the cubs are taken as a bonus or left to fend for themselves in the jungle. Slowly the number of orphaned tigers on the sanctuary began to grow. As the years went by, the tigers grew up and to the monks surprise and delight started to reproduce in captivity. The monks were soon faced with the need to create more living space for the tigers and as early as 2003 a plan was launched to create a large land space to house the tigers. Through donations and volunteers the monks now work to re-home the tiger cubs in a more natural forest environment, rehabilitating the new generations of cubs prior to their release back to the forest where they belong.

These four month old tigers are still being bottle fed. They are cute and playful but already you can feel the power that they will display when they reach adulthood.

Guiding the adult tigers to the canyon for their daily walk.


Notjustnat said...

Hey Cynthia, great to read about my country. Glad you had a good trip there and my country didn't let you down. You both look well and happy. Thanks for my BD presents. I was waiting to write after you returned. You must be about to go again?

HHS said...

Awesome! I wish I could have a baby elephant AND a baby tiger!