Thai Elephant Conservation Camp and Homestay

Trip Start Jan 21, 2009
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Trip End Mar 20, 2009


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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We left the noise, traffic and craziness of Bangkok, and arrived at the Thai Elephant Conservation Camp in beautiful Lampang Province in the north of Thailand.  The camp, owned by the Thai Government includes acres of beautiful forest and lakes and hills.  It is the site of the first (maybe only) elephant hospital in the world!  Prahsop, the director and founder of this very special program to save abused, neglected and injured elephants was on hand for our one day course yesterday. I feel very lucky that we had the chance to participate in the ceremony to bless and show respect for the elephants, and to learn about the elephants and the program at TECC from Prahsop! 

Most of you know that I returned to TECC to bring Ellen to the elephants and to the program I so loved, 2 years ago.  I became part of the TECC Mahout family in December 2006 when I completed the 3 day program.
Ellen joined our elite group of "farangs" yesterday when she completed the one day program!  She loves the "Chang" (Thai for elephants), as much as I do.  We have wonderful photos to share when we have time to get them off of our cameras. 

My elephant this year was "Jan Daing", which means "red moon" in Thai.  The night we arrived at camp, Noah called us to tell us to go outside and see the red harvest moon. The next evening it was indeed red again.  That must be a lucky omen!  We fed the 3 baby elephants, toured the hospital and learned to make beautiful paper from elephant dung.  When I heard that Pratidah was 10 months pregnant, I was surprised to learn that the gestation period for elephants is 22 months! 

We stayed at camp the night before our course and came to Chiang Mai by taxi, in the evening afterwards.
We were in need of a shower and then went our for a maincure and pedicure to dig the mud our of our dirty hands and feet.  Today, I had to axe my plans and go for a massage.  I am so sore!  I must be getting a little old to jump on and off of elephants.  Give it up? Not on your life!

The Mahout Program at TECC is eco-tourism at it's best!  If you go, you will have a rare experience and memories to last a lifetime!
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