Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thailand: Day 8

At this point, we couldn't believe we are halfway through our vacation and still have so much time remaining to soak up all of Thailand.  After us having such a busy day prior in Chiang Mai, we wanted to plan day 8 as we the day went.  It started with a yummy breakfast spot with fantastic coffee.   

It still makes me laugh that the menu 
we ordered from most every day was from a picture.

That's the prettiest lion I'd ever seen - IN a coffee cup!

I don't talk about my career much on my blog for one reason or another, but being that I am a pharmaceutical representative ... I always take a picture  by a pharmacy or anything drug related out of the states.  Most often they are advertising one of the drugs I sell, but in this case the broken English made me smile!


At 10am, we went back for our first fitting at the tailor, and I was so pleased to see the style and fit to be similar to what I pointed out from the book.  Such an experience seeing it all come together, and can you believe they had this much of the suit made in just TWELVE hours?!?!  Someone was busy working through the night to make two suits in the short window.  We were super pleased so far, and I just had to request a little material to be let out in the thighs as they didn't have much give for sitting.  I would of had an interesting time getting in and out of my car 15x a day, but luckily those changes could be made based on how far they had progressed.



I had Googled crossfit in Thailand prior to leaving on our trip and had read that there was ONE box in all of Thailand, which happened to be in Chiang Mai.  Gabe and I were determined to pay them a visit, and it was like a scavenger hunt to find tucked away off the highway.  I almost gave up at one point as our English map wasn't very helpful to our Thai speaking driver.  45 minutes later ... WE MADE IT!



We had never worked out in a hotter environment, it was something else
but just loved the open feel with bamboo "walls" so to speak.

Power cleans in a developing country rockin' my Keens ... so cool!!

Our most favorite memory was learning about THE "prowler."  Who knew after 2 and a half years of crossfitting, that I would have to travel to Thailand to learn about this piece of equipment.  

It drained every bit of me to have this part of the WOD!

With the nice trainer who's originally from Boston.

Our evening was spent at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar 
with tons of shopping, eating, people watching, and exploring. 

Can you believe the number of scooters?  
This is the locals way of transportation and so happens to be 
the number one cause of death for foreigners, scary stuff.


Took a break from Thai for some pizza ...

I loved my new find - beautiful sandals

We ran into our friends from Pantara Elephant Farm

Here is a quick clip to capture the Night Bazaar!

Clearly I was in another world as Gabe took this right as we arrived and I was curious to scope it all out.  The best part about this market was they shut down the street for miles for locals to sell their local handmade items.  They were all so unique.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thailand: Day 7 Continued

I'm almost done with obsessing over my elephant adventures,
but I just had to post a few of my favorite clips from the day
before moving on to the rest of the trip :)



This was our first real interaction with our elephant for the day, and I was pretty scared with her pushy trunk all up in my space as she was sooo hungry, oopsies I only got half of the bananas/bamboo in her mouth!

AND, I laugh every.single.time I watch this clip as there is a huge difference in my "cleaning" and Gabe's.  He's a fierce swatter with that branch - LOL!!!

Bathing Be-Joon, my fav part is when she genuinely scared me with her sweet talking and then rolled around and dived face first!

Gabe getting on like a champ, he thinks he is an elephant trainer :)

Graceful as I could be ...

Please entertain yourself and watch me fall, twice!

Getting bucked off as a couple :)

*****************

That night we were absolutely pooped, and we all we wanted was the street food from the same place we ate the night before.  When in doubt, go with what you LOVE!  And we just loved this Thai food.


and the $1 Leo beer

Top it off with a banana pancake and what we thought was a bottle of beer, which ended up being some real classy wine at that costly price of 90 CENTS from 7Eleven 

Hubs and I both wear full suits on a daily basis, and we had heard many suggestions from friends who visited Thailand that we had to take advantage of getting a tailored suit while we were there as it was a steal of a deal.  Before heading home that night ..... as it was like 10pm, we decided to pop our head into a tailor shop.  They had beautiful material, looked legit from what we saw, and the gentlemen was willing to do anything to get our business.  The crazier part was the fact that he said he could have a suit for both of us completed well within the 36 hours we had before catching a flight to the islands.  It seemed too good to be true, but hey why not we're on vacation ;)

Little did we know this was only the beginning of a long relationship!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thailand: Day 7

A few weeks prior to us departing for Thailand, my parents called late one evening to let me know they just watched Samantha Brown travels to Thailand.  My sweet parents knew that riding an elephant was very top of my list, and they told me to TiVo her show as they traveled to Pantara Elephant Farm.  A fellow blogger who lives in Thailand also highly recommended this particular place as they treated their elephants kindly, so with these two suggestions and it being the #1 activity on TripAdvisor ... I booked it immediately.

After lots of research, Pantara's "Trainer for the Day" seemed to be the best overall experience.  It was worth every single penny and some as it was one of the most memorable days of my life.  Next to my wedding day and future day when I give birth to a little bambino of my own!  I am SO glad we saved an entire day to experience Thailand in this form.  It was spectacular, and they really are brilliant creatures.


"Elephant Trainer for the Day" duties:  
Elephant farm management, tracking your elephant in the bush, how to approach and be near elephant, learn feeding and dietary of elephant, elephant anatomy, life cycle of elephant, daily activities for domestic elephant, daily health care, dunk inspection, age estimation for elephant, the differences between ordinary and special elephants. observation on elephant moods (important), Dos and don’ts for elephant, elephant’s body languages and communications, how a trainer create relationship and respectfulness with his elephant, bathing and brushing elephant in the river, spoken command for elephant, basic and advance riding skills, how to treat elephant to make them happy.


Leaving our Guest House excited to head to Pantara Elephant Farm


Grabbing caffeine on the way :)

Handsome hubs -- Arriving at Pantara!!!!

My first encounter at the farm was with this precious little baby - 6mths old

Trek out to the elephants, beyond breathtaking!

Meeting Be-Joon, the 10yr old female elephant that would be MINE for the day :)  The owner said she would be the perfect fit with me as I was young/athletic and could "handle" her. She was a pushy little booger and kept sticking her trunk IN my bucket as I wasn't feeding her fast enough.  

This picture was prior to me feeding her bamboo and bananas.  

Gabe's elephant, MeCong was 21 years old and had a much calmer personality.  He's feeded her here.

We learned you can determine how healthy an elephant is by if they have an appetite, if their feet are sweating, their side is dirty from laying down, their ears are flapping, and by the fibers in the poop. 

And we had to smell it to find this out, 'hey a trainer would do it so we did it!'

Brushing Be-Joon the natural way before giving her a bath


Now, it's really getting exciting!!!!!




Our amazing group for the day

We were totally shocked by the spraying water :)

Gabe mounting his elephant to start the ride to give them exercise.

 


That's Gabe's hand pretty much in the elephants mouth ...
touching the tongue!

Swimming with the elephants :)



Right after their swim, they get filthy all over again on the trek back.

WOO - HOO!!!


Gabe's was awfully hungry



Our view while riding through the pastures in Chiang Mai, Thailand

NOW, we got to ride the same elephant, slightly dangerous as we just held on to each other!  Thumbs up from our Smith Family!



One of my absolute favorite shots


Saying goodbye with some bananas and love!



I cannot express the love I had for these elephants, Thai trainers, and overall experience I had on this particular day.  I am forever grateful I was able to do something like this!!  

Now, I can check it off my bucket list with a huge smile.

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