Monday, November 11, 2013

Lions & Tigers & Elephants...Oh My!

I was in Thailand for a conference (see previous post) and to visit and learn from our Orphan's Promise office in Chiangmai.   BUT after work was over, I had to make some time for play too!  And I can say hands down that the highlight of this part of my trip was TIGER KINGDOM!

After my time with the tigers I learned that everyone apparently has a secret desire to snuggle with a baby tiger, as the facebook pictures I posted gathered more likes then any pictures I’ve ever posted and seemed to evoke comments of envy from friends and acquaintances alike! Who knew everyone wants to touch a tiger?!

I will say that when my friend Karen posted pictures of her time at Tiger Kingdom a year ago, I too had that tinge of jealously rise up.  As a closet cat lover I definitely had secret desires to play with a tamer version of a tiger—and so added Chiangmai to the bucket list. (I just didn’t realize I’d get to make it only a year later!)

I will admit that even in their 4-month old form these beauties are a little intimidating.  Maybe it was the bite marks that I saw on the trainer’s hand, or the signs that were posted about not making and ‘sudden movements’ and not touching the head of the tiger.   Let's just say I was still feeling a little nervous, despite the smile on my face.

There were 4 choices at Tiger Kindgom for tiger visiting….Big, medium, small and smallest.   Visions of an untimely death and being mauled by a hungry adult tiger didn’t exactly sound like the best way to end my time in Thailand, so I played it safe and went with the small and the smallest tigers.   Seeing the big kitties from the other side of the fence was close enough for me!

Yes, they really were sleeping (I was not), yes, they purred, and yes, the smallest ones were my favorite—the ones deemed ‘small’ (like the one above) were already a bit too feisty for my liking! (Notice I'm keeping my distance!)

I managed to leave with 10 fingers still in tact and some awesome pictures of my brush with wild life. Thank you Tiger Kingdom!

"Approach the tiger from behind, that way they not think you want to play....."
Seeing the big kitties from through the cage was close enough for me :)
The other cool thing to do in Chiang Mai is have a ride on the elephants!  What dear dear creatures these are.  At the Maesa Elephant Camp I was treated to an elephant show (who knew elephants can play soccer, paint pictures and throw darts?), saw a 1 month-old baby, road through the hills hoisted high on one of these amazing creatures, and received a good many kisses from their long trunks.

Also, a very cool experience!   So there you go Thailand, free tourism advertising.  Thanks for the wonderful time—hope to come back again! 

1 comment:

Tara G. said...

You look beautiful and wow- what an experience!! We just studied tigers in science- the kids are going to love this!!