On Saturday morning the son of our guest family showed us the way to Surin, a city not far from where we live. Here we teamed up with Sally and booked a hotel room with a hot shower and a pool for 900 Baht. 1 Baht = 1 Belgian Frank, so do the math and decide for yourselves whether or not this is a total bargain. The only downside (and I’m not kidding); it was rather cold (22°) that weekend. But we decided not to keep the "cold" from getting in our way and so we did what we came here to do: relax and enjoy the scenery.
On Saturday we went to Ban Chang (Elephant Village). People actually live in this village with their pets: the elephants. And when I say pet, I mean pet. They feed them more than three times a day, bathe with them, go for walks, ‘chill’ with them and so on. Even though the animals are chained up for public safety, the thought of mistreating them horrifies teh trainers. This we knowfrom another foreign teacher at our school, whose sister used to date an elephant trainer.
The elephants also provide a show for the many onlookers. They dance, paint, play football and even massage spectators. Of course Nele couldn’t escape the watchful eye of the host of the show and she got her first Thai Massage…from an elephant. Sally decided to tempt fate and let an elephant walk over her and a few other people. Luckily, she lived to tell the tale.
We decided to leave the elephants alone and went back to Surin. We dined in a grill restaurant where we tried various sorts of meat and fruit and of course, ice-cream. Then we went out for a drink in a reggae bar where the table was made of an old bathtub in which swam small fish. Strange but oh so amusing. After a very busy day we scaled the stairs of our hotel, dropped down on or beds and enjoyed the soft mattress beneath our exhausted bodies.