Hairy Potter’s Aunt

Day 9. Wed 5/18

Chiang Mai

Thai massages, Ran-Tong Elephant Sanctuary, Night Bazaar, Ladyboy Show, Zoe in Yellow, Spicy

Bad news: I got another bug bite. And it’s swollen and red like the first one. Good(ish) news: It’s pretty much centered on my left bicep, so my left arm is looking just as yoked as my right now.💪

Today we slept in and then decided it was finally time to get a Thai massage. Considering it was 200 baht, around $6 USD, I honestly don’t know why we haven’t done them every day. I got stretched, bent, cracked, popped, twisted, and stepped on and felt like a new person afterward. As Saffy put it, “I feel like I just got my ass kicked in slow motion.” But like, in a good way.

We spent our afternoon at the Ran-tong Elephant Sanctuary ❤❤❤ After somehow getting stuck in the back row of another hot and bumpy van ride, we descended down about 1,000 steps to the elephants. Right by the bathrooms and lockers was a pen with an extremely hairy baby elephant, who was justly named Hairy Potter, and his mother. He was a cutie, but he was also pretty mischevious. He almost put one of the other people’s hands into his mouth after luring her in with his playful trunk. Of course I was terrified after that and kept a good 2 foot distance from the fence.

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Each elephant had its own trainer, and Mike and I got paired up to ride with Maylou (who happened to be Hairy’s auntie) and Chablin (?? He had a very thick accent…). Chablin took about 100 pictures – including selfies – of us on Maylou and made sure we were safe while on top of the massive creature. Compared to the other elephants, Maylou was pretty well behaved except for some occasional mud slinging. We walked around a little dirt path and up a hill (elephants can climb extremely steep terrain) and then got to give them a little bath in the pool. Kaija and Max’s elephant took a huge shit and then was rolling around in the water like a puppy dog. So not only was I trying to dodge giant elephant feet, but also giant green bowling ball sized turds.💩

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I liked Ran-Tong because they use food to train the elephants and although they have a chain around each elephant’s foot, it’s only used for aggressive behavior to keep the other animals safe. Our guides helped us learn more about the elephants – they can live to be as old as humans, they have an 18-month gestation period, they only sleep 4 hours a day and they eat about 1/10 of their body weight in food each day. If elephants are dehydrated they can die in as little as two days, and so they have a doctor come and visit the elephants every morning. In addition, each trainer at the sanctuary was responsible for their elephant 24/7 in order to make sure they are healthy and safe.

Somehow our last night in Chiang Mai snuck up on us. Stamps was such a fun hostel and the staff Milk and Lynn were so helpful and welcoming at all hours of the day. I’m going to miss them!

We freshened up and headed toward the Night Bazaar for dinner and drinks before the Chiang Mai Cabaret Show, also known as the ladyboy show (we were advised by multiple people not to show up sober). After a long walk and a mediocre meal we grabbed some seats near the back for the show. But our host opened up the show by coming around kissing every man in the audience on the cheek, and not even Josh could hide from him/her.

As for the rest of the show, I really enjoyed it! It reminded me of the shows my family used to see when we were on vacation in Mexico, when the performers would come out and dance and sing to popular hits in flamboyant costumes and makeup. The only differences were that the songs were a little less family friendly and the performers were all ladyboys. Some better-looking than others. They even pulled one guy up on stage to participate in one of the acts, and although I don’t think he was upset about it at all, things got a little NSFW. **Very much so, actually.

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We hit up a Thai ice cream stand and the “Same Same but Different” bar before heading to Zoe in Yellow just before it closed at midnight. Once the bar was shut down we wandered back toward the hostel, stopping at Spicy which is a cafe by day and underground after hours dance club by night. Quite the combo.

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Food log:

  • Dried mango slices and banana chips
  • Vegetable quinoa salad with breaded fried fish sticks from The Salad Concept (slightly obsessed with their little cafe)
  • The most bland cashew chicken with vegetables. Ever.
  • Chocolate banana Oreo Thai ice cream

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