Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thailand Day 5 - Chiangmai Part II

After lunch at the elephant camp, we climbed aboard a bamboo raft for a float down the river.
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They gave us hats for protection from the sun.  Don't we all look dashing in them?
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Of course Sophie loved her hat for about 5 minutes, then it was just something to carry.
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They made us wear life jackets as we boarded the raft, but after we were out of sight of the dock they said we could take them off.
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Peter got a chance to pilot the boat down the river which he really enjoyed!
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While Peter was the man on front, Jack got to be the man on back.
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As we were floating by, we got a good look at another set of elephants being washed down.
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We saw some very inviting houses on the side of the river, including this one with a waterfall next door.
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Here was the 'Girl's Boat'.  Sue, Sophie and Linda on their float.

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After an hour or so on the river, we got back into the van and headed for a local monkey training farm.  They train macaques to climb up coconut trees and knock down the coconuts.  It's much easier and safer for monkeys to do it, than humans.  A fully trained monkey costs about 100,000 baht, or about $3,000 US.
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During the  monkey demonstration, Peter and Jack were both chosen to have a monkey sit on their laps.  Which one is the monkey?  I can't tell.
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This monkey did an underwater swimming demonstration.  I thought he looked particularly pitiful as he was trying to warm up in the sun.
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This beautiful bright orange tree is called "Frame of the Forest", and only blooms like this once a year, during January and February.
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There was also an orchid and butterfly garden in the same compound.  By this time it was getting near dinner time and we were ready to eat!
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OK, so this guy isn't a butterfly, but he held still long enough for me to take his picture.
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We were all starting to get tired but we had one stop left to make, a
Next we stopped at village of hill tribes, where rice was being planted, and crafts and other wares were being made and sold.Thailand 372

This hemp skirt takes about 8 months to dye and weave!
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A sample of the local embroidery.
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... and workers in the field planting rice.
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One of the interesting tribes here is the Patong tribe, who practice the custom of inserting rings around their necks to push down their collarbones and elongate their necks.  In the past, their women would be stolen by other tribes, so they did this to make their woman unattractive to other tribes.  Once they are put on, they are never taken off, not to bathe or sleep!
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Even the young girls start to wear them, starting at around age 5.
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Their outdoor schoolhouse for the primary grades.
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More of the Patong village women...
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It sure looks inconvenient and uncomfortable, but they don't seem to mind!
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Sue, trying her hand at being a Patong woman.
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Here's a nice garden - crops for 1 family.
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Jack and I, harvesting some bananas.
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This little boy looks pretty good with the slingshot, and he's barely 2 years old!
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The boys each bought wooden crossbows which they LOVE, including wooden darts.  The rest of the family has voted that they should go in my suitcase.   Hmm...
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Sophie thought the slingshots looked interesting, so she was figuring out how to use one.
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"Hey these are fun!  Do you have any windows around here?"
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"Can I shoot one of your chickens?"
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Peter and Jack bought their crossbows from this couple.  The woman has solid silver earrings inserted in her ears.  In old times, they would store opium there.
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At last, it was time to say farewell to this village and head back to our hotel.
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We were definitely some hungry, tired adventurers after this long day!