Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thaibodia Day 9 – Bamboo Rafts, Elephants and Tigers… Oh My!

We were supposed to be picked up at our hotel for our tour at 6:30am in front of our hotel. The driver was about 30 minutes late and then we waited in the bus for 15 more minutes because some people were waiting in the wrong place at our hotel, but finally we were on our way.

Our first stop on the tour was a war memorial. During WWII, I guess there was a railroad bridge that was built by prisoners of War. This railway connected Thailand and Burma
Then we went and saw the actual bridge along the River Kwai. This place was surrounded by market stalls. Sean said he saw a guy with a baby Jaguar and charging people to take photos with it.
I got a few souvenirs and a hat since it was hot. Terryn was really excited about the train. Sean walked with Terryn down the bridge a little ways and explained to him about trains. Then they watched the train come into the little train stop. I was perusing the market during this and making my way back to the bus.

Then I got in the bus. Sean was with Terryn exchanging some money into Baht. When the lady was counting the money out for Sean, Terryn ran off toward the train bridge. It was now time for our group to leave and Sean was off looking for Terryn. He didn’t know where he was, but suspected he ran off toward the train stop again. I didn’t know he’d run off and was waiting with Jayce with the rest of our group. After about 10 or 15 minutes, a very annoyed Sean came dragging Terryn back into the bus.

The next stop was a place where we got to take elephant rides. Terryn was SUPER excited about seeing the elephants. We got to ride an elephant that had a baby elephant tied to it. The baby elephant was so cute. 
I didn't take many pictures on the elephant because I was afraid I was going to fall off. Jayce didn’t like being jostled about so much and it was hot. I think he was getting tired of being in the backpack too. We were holding an umbrella over us and that helped a little.
 After we got off the elephant, Terryn stuck around on the elephant dock and petting the elephant’s head. Then we watched for a short time while the elephants got sprayed with water to cool off.
Then we went down to the bamboo rafts. We got in a speed boat which took us up river to a dock where the rafts were. We disembarked and then sat on a bamboo bench on top of the raft.
Terryn liked being on the raft. He also liked peeling the bark off the poles for the roof and throwing it in the water.
 On the way back we saw this gnarly bridge. There were a few tourists crossing it.
I thought they were crazy. This thing is literally falling apart. Can't you SEE the holes in it? I guess if it breaks you would at least fall in the river.
 Next it was time for lunch. The rest of our group was already eating. They didn't do the elephant ride or the rafts. Their tour had them doing different stuff. We were served an assortment of food. It was all really good, but when we were about half way done our guide said it was time to go. We hard barely started eating. Usually on these tours they give you about an hour to eat. We had only been eating for like 10 minutes. We also had to worry about feeding our kids. He said, “Okay, 5 more minutes.” Arggg…. I was not happy. I’m a slow eater and it’s hard for me to eat fast.

Then a few people in our car were still using the restroom so Sean took Terryn to go potty. I got into the bus and decided I should go use the restroom too. As I got out of the bus the driver started yelling at me. He said I could go at the next place and it was only 5 minutes away. Then he said that my family should have taken a private tour instead so we could take the tour at our own pace. He was yelling this at me because he was frustrated that we were running behind schedule. I told him it wasn’t my fault that we were the last ones to get food and we had two kids to feed also. The rest of the tour was kind of jaded for me because I was super pissed at this guy. How dare he blame us for making him that late. Yes, Terryn ran off and Sean was maybe 15 late getting to the bus, but he left our hotel 45 minutes late that morning and that was not our fault.

The next stop was a waterfall. I told Sean to go without me. We only had 15 minutes here and I needed to change baby and feed him. I did that and then I looked for the bathrooms. It was disgusting. It was completely flooded and nasty. There was no way I was going in there. Then I mad all over again because I didn’t get to go at the restaurant. When I got back to the rendezvous spot Sean was already back from the waterfall. He said it was super lame. Glad I didn’t go.

Then the group of us that came to this part of the tour, were picked up by a different bus. We went to the Tiger Temple. It was not exactly what I expected. It was more of an animal park and there was a part of it run by monks. When we entered the park we saw free roaming deer, goats and wild boar.
We only had about an hour here so we tried to hurry. We went to the Tiger canyon. In this location they have full size tigers. Most are lying down and are chained. There are a few that are not. You stand in a line and then a guide will walk with you, holding your hand, and lead you to the different tigers. If you have a camera, someone will walk behind you and take pictures with your camera for you since this is an individual thing.

Terryn went first. He was guided by one of the tiger handlers and he did really well. We weren’t sure if he was going to be scared or if he would be naughty, but he did great. He was so cute. 
 Then Sean went next. He enjoyed patting the tigers. 
I went last and I was rushed through so fast that I hardly had time to take it in. They are such beautiful, massive creatures. It was pretty cool.
Then one of the animal trainer squirted some water in a tigers mouth to get the scary picture. I think it was more drinking than growling, but it looks pretty menacing doesn't it?
After the canyon we went to where they had baby tigers. In this location, the handlers were monks.  There were two babies there. They were about the size of a medium/small dog. They were so cute. The monk had Terryn sit down and touch the tiger and I got to take its picture. We got lots of pictures with the baby tiger. We had to stay in this enclosure for a while because they were moving the big cats to different location within the park.
Then it was time to go. We saw cows, goats, deer and wild boar roaming around the park. We joked that this must the tigers’ dinner. There were also animals like an Asian Black Bear in an enclosure. He looked really hot. After we exited the park, I finally got to use the restroom. Then we rejoined the rest of our group and drove 2 hours back to Bangkok.

Overall the kids did pretty good. There were times when I wanted to throw Terryn out of the bus because he was being awful, but then there were times that he was so cute. I think it’s really hard on the kids not to have proper naps or mealtimes. It’s also really hot and humid and we’ve done a lot of walking in places where Terryn can’t run and isn’t supposed to touch certain things. That’s really difficult for him.

Most people think we’re crazy for bringing the kids along, but what were we supposed to do? I wouldn’t to be away from them for 2 weeks either. I’d miss them. It’ll be cool for Terryn especially to look back through these blog posts and pictures and see all the things he got to do while living in Asia.

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