Archive for March, 2011

Me & Boo See Take A Dip In The Ruak River

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Too much with the elephants? Really?? Well, it’s not every day you get to ride around on one on dry land — and certainly not quite as often that you get to climb aboard one for a cool-off in a nearby waterway, so you’ll just have to indulge me and/or enjoy the CapCam vid below, which is long-form and unedited. Seven or so once-in-a-lifetime minutes of me and Asian elephant Boo See having a bath in the Ruak River:

For more information, see http://www.helpingelephants.org

Beau & Me From Another Angle

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Susan had my point-n-shoot rolling in video mode when I dismounted Bo at Elephant Camp:

More importantly, the organization the provides such unforgettable opportunities does so to benefit both Asian elephants and the mahouts who are responsible for them.

Please learn more at www.helpingelephants.org.

Chaing Mai Mandarin Oriental: Suitest Of The Suite

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

You normally wouldn’t find me so ultra gaga over a hotel room (much less making a shakycam vid of the space), but our 1,600-square foot suite (not including 430-square-foot balcony) at the Mandarin Oriental Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, isn’t just any hotel room. Check this amazing place out:

Up & Down

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Of all the things I was looking forward to on this trip, the one at the top of the list was the visit to Anantara Resort’s Elephant Camp. In a most definitive case of bad timing, the day I was scheduled to participate — yesterday — was also the day I was laid way low by a stomach bug that left me confined to our hotel room, at least until the earthquake hit and I was forced to evacuate.

I’d been hoping the day of rest coupled to a good night’s sleep might leave me at an improved level of functionality, but the 3.5 hours between the temblor and being allowed to return to our rooms left me wondering if I’d lost any ground I’d gained.

Fortunately I woke up feeling much better and for the first time in 36 hours had something something to eat and was able to join in today’s group to get very up close and personal with the camp’s elephants. It was an unbelievable experience.

So without further skedoo, here’s a CapCam perspective on what it’s like to get up on and down from a nine-foot-tall, four-ton femele Asian elephant named Beau, an absolute sweetheart of a behemoth who suffered me beautifully.

Rock ‘N Roll

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

A horrible day spent laid-up feverish and weak from a fast-acting stomach bug ended with a big exclamation point in the form of a 6.8 earthquake experts are saying was epicentered coincidentally in the exact vicinity of where we’re staying: about 55 miles north of Chiang Rai, Thailand.

When it first hit I thought the rumble was that of the air-conditioning system kicking on, but within a second or two I jumped out of bed to get away from the large sliding glass balcony doors that were rattling substantially.

Susan had just arrived back from dinner and I made my way to her by the room’s entry and we rode the thing out, which got worse before it stopped.

Some bottles in the bathroom had shattered, as did an empty water bottle on the desk, but other than the balcony light fixture becoming decidedly less fixed, everything seemed intact.

A short while later we were told to report to the parking lot for a headcount (where I encountered the damage at the thotel’s entry seen above). Then we were offered sanctuary at the hillside pool for a spell through a nice series of aftershocks in the 4-5.0 range until we were ordered back to the parking lot out of possible landslide concerns.

Finally at around midnight we were given access to our rooms again and we returned to sleep as best we could through the aftershocks to come.

This morning, everything visible from our balcony at the Anantara Resort was still in place and I’m happy to report I seem to have emerged from the worst of the stomach illness still a bit wobbly and weak, but in far better shape and ready to rejoin the tour group.

30-Kilometer Tuk Tuk Ride In Cambodia

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

After a sunrise spent at Angkor Wat Temple, followed by a visit to Ta Prohm Temple, Susan and I opted to split off from the tour group with like-minded adventurers Miles and Maryanne Cooper from San Francisco. And after negotiating rates for a pair of tuk tuks, the four of us set out from Ta Prohm on about a 30 kilometer journey out from Siem Reap, Cambodia, to the ancient ruins of Banteay Srey Temple.

Unfortunately back in Thailand today, my visit to Siem Reap seemed to have brought about a visit by the Siem Reaper. Miles jokingly coined the term at dinner last night before trouble set in, but after a feverish day waylaid in the hotel room spent either prone or on the throne, it’s really no laughing matter.

Hopefully I’ll be back to functioning levels by tomorrow.

Long Boarder

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

After a sunrise spent at Angkor Wat Temple, followed by a visit to Ta Prohm Temple, we opted to split off from the tour group with like-minded adventurers Miles and Maryanne from San Francisco. And after negotiating rates for a pair of tuk tuks, the four of us set out from Ta Prohm on about a 30 kilometer journey out from Siem Reap, Cambodia, to the ancient ruins of Banteay Srey Temple.

Along the main road between the two points we passed this industrious fellow (one of three actually), transporting a supremely long piece of wood by bicycle (click it for the bigger picture):

I’ve been known to dread when I have to carry the extra weight of a laptop in my backpack when I ride. Not anymore.