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Ruth's Travel Blog

Oops!! Been a while...

THAILAND | Wednesday, 31 July 2013 | Views [431]

It's been a while since I have written on this thing!! 
But really not a huge amount to talk about. 
One Sunday a few weeks ago we travelled in the back of a pickup truck to Surin Elephant Study Centre, where we volunteered for the day for a pretty good price. 
We got there late morning, had a quick lunch then started planting grass for the elephants. Not how I'd imagined though. There were pre-dug furrows ready for us to put down old cane type things which the grass grows from, then once they were all laid we covered them up with the soil.
Then we went and cut sugar cane to feed the elephants with. We had an elephant each. Mine was called Peum Sap (meaning more money), she was 19 years old I was told. They can live as long as 150 years apparently, and pregnancy is 2 years long. We rode the elephants to a lake where they bathed. My elephant was boring and didn't want to lye in the water so it just stood there.  Another elephant was cheeky and kept sooking water up it's trunk then spraying all of us! On the way back my mahout (elephant herder) asked me to swap places with him so I was sat on the nape of the elephant's neck. I didn't really like that... Didn't feel safe! like I was going to fall off forwards if the elephant put its head down. 
We moseyed around the centre afterward. There was a small museum, an elephant show area where they were doing tricks (not fair for them) and a market. There there was a man who was painting. I bought from him a beautiful picture of an elephant and it's baby for next to nothing UK price. 
School has been up and down hugely. From the point. Of "that was the best day so far!" To the other extreme of going in after the long weekend to quit, but had a good day, and ten days later I still seem to be here... Going to stick it out though as I'm well past the half way point.
I went away for a long weekend, to one of the islands. It's the closest one from here but it's still 9hours drive to the ferry. It was absolute heaven and just highlighted how horrible Surin really is!! It wasn't great weather, but not as bad as forecast. Not sunny, but a nice temperature with a gorgeous breeze :) we did absolutely nothing... Ate and drank far too much and swam in the sea(well jumped the waves... They were pretty big). 12 of us went in total but it was nice as it broke into smaller groups which worked well as the others wanted to do things where was we just wanted to recuperate.
The driver that took us there and back in a minibus was a TERRIBLE driver. On the way, we travelled over night on the Friday after school, to get the first boat in the morning. Well he fell asleep at the wheel and if my friend hasn't been awake to clap her hands and wake him up then who knows what would have happened.
On the way back we travelled in the day... I have never seen flooding like it. Actually scary to travel through but he would still be driving a 100km per hour even when the fastest setting on the windscreen wipers wasn't fast enough. We saw people wading, waist deep, and we saw several abandoned vehicles. We even saw a mini bus the same as ours nose down in a ditch completed flooded out. There was a man in the middle of the road directing traffic wearing a life jacket. At home if it was that bad it would be on the news AND even more importantly the roads would all be closed. The driver was overtaking on blind bends and blind summits. Not the best drive of my life!!
I have a friend from home (Kat) arriving on Friday. She's been travelling round Thailand a bit, and Surin is her last stop. I will be happy to see a face from home as I've been feeling pretty low and not much has been helping!!
We are leaving for Bangkok on Monday, along with one of my closest friends here, who has had enough and is flying home. In Bangkok we are meeting another friend from home (Sophie),  and when Kat flys out Sophie and I are travelling down the peninsula to Koh Phi Phi which is an island off Phuket. It's famous for the beach in the movie "The Beach"... I can't wait to get away again, need some space and some home faces!!

Tags: beaches, elephant, homesick, monsoon

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