I made it to Lampang yesterday by bus. Was dropped off in the rain, as I discussed in my previous post. Made it to an adorable homestay called Chai Lai right on the river here. It is low season and a much smaller town so it is myself and one other traveler here. He is a man that is 45 and has his entire passport filled including 5 inserts. We chatted for quite a long time about a lot of topics, he gave me some pointers. Great guy, with lots of travel experience.
This morning I got up and decided to rent a mountain bike, and cycle to the elephant hospital that was 30k away. I happen to rent the crappiest mountain bike in town I am sure of it. But whatever I was off and riding. It felt great, hills, and heat and sweat. I miss intense workouts like these. Arriving at the Elephant Hospital it was different that the camps and what have you. You dont pay a fee, there is not a bunch of tourists, in fact I think I was the only one. It is just like a hospital for people but for elephants. There were 13 there currently, 3 or 4 are permanent residences and the rest are in inpatient treatment. I walked in and just started observing the beautiful creatures. I had focused my attention on one initially because I noticed her foot immediately. This giant animal was carrying her weight on 3 legs. I cried, ive been crying a lot. I didn’t know the story, I just know my heart hurt for her. I was given the opportunity to watch at 10 minute film regarding the hospital and the elephants. This was where I cried again, as I was educated on these animals and what the hospital is doing for them. Most of them are rescued from illegal logging in Burma, or from being tortured and mistreated for tourism, but also some come because well they need to be hospitalized and taken care of. A local volunteer names Lynn walked me around and explained each elephants situation to me, we laughed together while trying to figure out what each other was saying. She gave me bananas to feed one of the Elephants that I had so much fun with. I cannot remember how to pronounce her name I just know it started with a J and she also had a foot injury but had not lost it.
This picture brings tears of joy to my eyes, I got to feed an elephant that was in the hospital bananas. How neat. The courage that these animals have to continue to live, continue to try and gain strength after being tortured or injured by bombs and logs is beautiful. Just because these animals dont have voices, does not mean they don’t deserve the same love and care as humans. I also got to play with a baby elephant named Kaewadee (I think I got that right) he was so playful, we fed him a huge, giant! thing of bananas and he ate them all up. Being here, just hanging out with elephants watching them be couragous through the pain, the poking and proding, inspires me. No matter how rough, hard or tough life can get always keep going, there is always someone on your side.
Meeting Motala and her story of courage and strength, she allowed humans to work on her and with her to rehabilitate her after her leg was blown off by a landmine in Burma. I watched her play in the sand, I think at one point she was playing hide and seek with me. As the sun rolled out she rolled over into her sand and decided it was time for a nap. I didn’t want to leave, but like a hospital for humans, the patients needed their rest.
I took off riding back on my back, stopped at a huge street market and got the most amazing fresh and dried fruit balls, I have no clue what they are but the girl let me try like 5 kinds and I bought them for my long haul home. I also got the stapple snack in Thailand, puffed rice crackers with watermelon juice dried on them, those are delicious as well. It rained about 15k before reaching town and I laughed, it down poured but felt great. These words I hear of others telling me I have courage makes my heart jump, if these elephants can recover from the tragedies they have experienced I can recover and travel and survive myself, my own worst enemy. I can grow, I can change, I can triumph the hard times. If I can bike like I have been in Thailand with no choice but to push forward, I can travel through foreign countries just the same. (I also thought, who needs abs when you got legs for days that can move you like theres no tomorrow on a bike or even running. My legs are spectacular screw a flat stomach that doesnt get you anywhere haha.) That was a side note while riding today….I also considered just getting a mountain bike, and biking cross countries. Maybe not this trip because I dont think the Gulf of Thailand will allow me to ride a bike through it to Bali. But for my travels ahead!
Hung wan ni wela (One day at a time)