Chaing Mai was our first stop in Thailand. A lot mpr chilled out than Bali. Less tooting taxis and people asking for photographs. Our hostel was incredible and was showing all the World Cup games. Amazing! On our first day we headed around the markets and Losa bought some souvenirs. We spotted a massage place and couldn't believe how cheap it was so had to get a head, shoulder and bck massage. This was the first of many! We stayed up until 2am to watch the Spain vs Holland game. I was supporting Holland and Lis was for Spain. Holland trumped them 5, 1 which was ace. Glad we stayed up for it, poor Lisa wasn't so happy.
The next day was pretty chilled out. We had a nice lie in and then wandered aroind the old city. We saw temples and lots of markets. One street was 1.5km long and filled to the brim with different stalls; trousers, tye dye, bags, banana fritters, fresh fruit, mini elephants, scarfs. Honestly eveything! I love it all and wanted to buy so much. I stopped at 2 pairs of trousers, 1 mini elephant and 1 scarf. Lisa wenr pretty crazy with gifts for her family. I fwlt like we'd bought half the market by the time we grabbed a Tuk Tuk home. Tuk Tuks are quite hard to describe so here's a picture.. Haha! Mini motorbike with horse and carriage I guess.. Without the horse obviously.
My alarm was set for 4.45am for Englands first game against Italy. I ended up waking every hpur as I was so excited. At 20 to 4 I got up and said "Lisa, I'm going downstairs now, there's only 20 mins til kickoff!" she was like "err it's only half past 3 Al!" oh my God I was so annoyed and just decidedto go downstairs anyway. The sitting room was already pretty full with a good crowd of travellers, mainly English. One had drunk too much beer and was already passed out in the corner. They had decided to stay up all night for it which I thought was pretty crazy. It was an alright game but England lost much to all our disappointment. lis and I couldn't be disappointed for long though as we were getting picked up for elephant riding in half an hoir! Woohoo! Quick coffee and shower and we were ready!
We drove for about 45mins round windy roads. We were in the van with an American couple who were on there 'extended honeymoon' they were pretty annoying and rude. Saying things like "uhh a hostel. What's that like?" in a disgusted voice. They seemed to know everything about everything. Anyways it didn't bother us too much as we were so exxited about a day with elephants! We arrived and walked up a slight hill where we met a mother elephant with her 13 week old daughter! It was unbelievably cute and ran around or tried to run! It kept tripping up and slipping. Then it would run around its mums legs where there was a sand bag so it could stand on it and reach for some milk. Apparently babies are usually born around 80 kilos but thos one was only 50 so muh smaller than usual. The mother had been rescued from a circus and it took around 2 years to get her healthy again and on a good diet. That's why I liked this elephant farm. They were all about rescuing elephants, recovering them back to good health and breeding. Elephants are pregnant for 2 years before they gove birth. I couldn't believe that! Long time.
We spent the whole day feeding, washing and riding them. It was a bit scary at first as they are huuge but they are such slow and calm animals. Getting on an elephant is the hardest bit. You tapped the elephants leg and he bent it. You first stood on her foot, then her knee and then you had to swing yourself over. Then you just balanced yourself by placing your hands on its head and tucking your legs under its ears. It feels quite surreal talking about how I got on to an elephant. We learnt Thai commandments for the elephants like for them to open there mouth for food whoch was 'bon' and how to sit down as that is how an old man had to get on his elephant. Lisa had the only male elephant with huge tusks and was definitley the biggest. A bit scary for her but she ended up loving him! We brought them banans, bamboo and grass to chew on and showered them down with a hose. Mine stuck her trunk in the hose to drink the water. They are funny creatures!
We then walked for about an hour on there back. 2 little elephants came with us. They were 2 and 3 years and barged there way through the forest, crashing into trees and slidding down the hills on there knees. So so funny to watch. Literally like little kids running riot! It was scary on top but you got used to balancing. The elephants plodded along nice and slowly. We had rice, chicken and fruit for lunch and fed our elephants our left overs. They do not stop eating! Then we rode another half hour before getting to a river. This was amazing! We washed and brushed them until they were clean and then sadly parted ways. It was one of the best days of my travels and something I don't think I will be doing again.
We got home from our amazing day and headed to the markets with a gang from our hostel. It was street food for dinner, rice and chicken curry, and waffles for dessert. We had walked the whole market when we realised just how shattered we were. We had been up since half 3 that morning so it was definitley time for bed. A flight tomorrow to Phuket at 7am so another early start! Chiang Mai was brilliant though! Way better than I expected!