Thailand, the tour of thrones

There’s been much to see here in Thailand. But for me, it’s been a tour of thrones.

We’ve visited the Royal Palace in Bangkok — and I sat on his throne. We visited the King’s Summer Palace — where I sat on his throne. We even visited some ancient royal ruins — where I also, sat on a throne.

But mostly, the throne in my hotel is where I sat the most.

Since arriving in Chiang Mai on December 24, I have been sick with a stomach bug/flu/virus/whatever. Upon checking into our hotel that afternoon, I didn’t leave my room until our departure two days later.

I also couldn’t hold anything down, causing me to miss seven straight meals. Sadly, experiencing the local cuisine is one of the best parts of traveling.

And if you read my earlier post about scuba diving in Phi Phi Don, you’ll gather that I’ve spent most of my time in Thailand vomiting over the side of a boat or fighting a case of diarrhea. Sadly, that’s not the formula for a very fun trip.

One fun story that I would like to tell occurred on December 23 in Phuket. After dinner with the folks, my brother and I headed out for a drink when I almost got pick pocketed by an elephant.

That’s right — an elephant. Here’s the story…

After dinner, Cameron and I found a bar that had a Flinstone’s theme that was implemented much like a Rain Forest Cafe. The bar spilled right out onto the sidewalk of a fairly busy street, so there were a lot of things for us to watch as we sipped our beer. But mostly, we were entertained by the baby elephant that was “working the streets” right behind us.

Naturally, the elephant was the center of attention. Everyone that passed buy would want to pet it, watch it, or even have their kids ride it. It even knew a few tricks.

The first trick was that it knew how to pose for a photo. It would raise one leg, curl it’s trunk, and hold that pose until it saw a flash. Once it saw a flash, it would go back to it’s normal elephant-on-the-sidewalk stance. Neat trick.

The second trick, however, impressed us more. If someone wanted to feed the elephant, they would first pull some money out of their wallet. Seeing the money, the elephant would use its trunk to grab the bills from the customer, hand them to its owner, who in turn would hand some bananas to the customer, who in turn would feed them to the eagerly awaiting elephant. This was an impressive trick.

After several drinks, Cameron and I decided to return to the hotel. Having paid our tab at the bar, I was in the process of putting my change back in my wallet when a trunk appeared over my shoulder attempting to snatch a few bills from me for food. Can’t say that I’ve ever had that happen before.

Sadly, my trip home begins tomorrow at 4 a.m. Cameron has already flown to Phuket to begin the wedding part of his Thailand vacation, and my folks depart in four hours. If I think of some more stories, I’ll add them to my site later.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a great New Years. I depart for North Carolina for a New Year’s wedding the day after I return.