Thailand Day 1: Exotic Beasts

One rolly suitcase each, my mom bag.
There are two activities that cause me to bolt out of bed in the morning. The first is in-utero baby appointments, the second is international flights for adventures.  We ubered from Danville to SFO where we met up with the Hippie (I was going to nickname him the Gift on here because he's been such a gift in our lives this last half year, but the Hippie seems to get more to the experience of being around my darling beautiful brilliant boyfriend) and his 11 year old Blake.  They caught one flight and we caught another, both to Tokyo but to DIFFERENT AIRPORTS. Ha. Check your airports friends.
Highlight of Japan: the toilets.

This is REAL top Ramen.

We met up in Tokyo, slept and ate noodles then headed to Bangkok. In Bangkok we had a driver with a sign waiting for us that my friend Megan arranged to take us to her gorgeous home.  When you get to a second world country it's good to have a driver.  Find one on Trip Advisor and make sure they tell you exactly which airport exit they'll be waiting near with a sign.

Arrived in Bangkok, waiting for our sweet ride.

The vans in Bangkok are my second dream vans. Toyota makes these fancy 9 or more passenger vans with tricked out interiors. I wish they were available in America bc all moms would drive them.

The next morning the Hippie had arranged a killer tour through a company we found through Trip Advisor: Tours with Tong.  The guide Lily spoke pretty good English and was totally accommodating to our needs for snacks and bathrooms.  There was a tour guide and a 9 passenger van driver which cost about 4000 baht for the day.  That's about $120 American.  Cash is king in Thailand so if you go show up with about $300 in baht.  Every couple of days I took out another $300 which we used to pay drivers, take tuk tuks, pay for food, pay for everything.  For the 6 of us combined I'd budget about $100/day maybe for everything?  Our hotel for all 6 of us was about $50/night in Bangkok (we had to move from Meg's to access our cooking class) and our AirBnB in Phuket was about $100/night.  Here are the links of where we stayed, in case you're planning.  I would ABSOLUTELY stay at the AirBnB in Phuket again.  I want to buy it. Here's Urban House and here's the magical AirBnB: Rawai 
Shrines like these all over the place.  Look at the little magical houses!  Need one.

This is the big cat petting zoo called Safari Park. Think how different this would look in the US.

The boys ready to play with the baby lions.

Our first stop was about an hour and 30 outside of Bangkok so we saw the countryside before we saw the city. Every other block had a glamorous Buddhist temple with the golden curly and ornate detailing. Thailand feels magical because of these gorgeous buildings looming around every corner resplendent with mirrored tiled mosaics.  The monks really outdo themselves. Each home dwelling also has a spirit home shrine in front of them which look like mini temples. We learned that the Thai people believe strongly in folklore and mythology so you see a lot of sparkly guys with masks and magical animals.  More on that at the Siam Niramit show.

Destination 1 was one of the main motivations of this trip: my kids wanted to see animals.  There's a zoo in Kanchanaburi where they keep the baby animals separate so that guests can interact with them.  For $15 you can go into the cages one by one and feed these baby animals bottles.  They are not sedated but they are chosen because of their age and temperament.  Each animal has a cat nanny who works with it daily and goes in there with you.  You feel at risk for scratches but the animals are babies for the most part or, in the case of the the lion Jude hung out with, it is just a really mellow beast that has never scratched nor bit anyone ever.

Not so with the tigers.
The lion is about a year old and practically domesticated but not tranquilized.

Cat nanny and our ace photographer tour guide Lily.  She was fantastic!

In went Jude to the young lion's cage. He was appropriately nervous because feeding animals with bottles is different from his extensive experience feeding babies. They eat aggressively. And they're thicker than house cats so you have to pet roughly. It started out apprehensive but then became snuggle time.

Made us miss our babies!
Next up went Blake and Silas into the baby lion cage. There were two snuggly lions who were like teddy bears. One of them latched on to Blake's hand but didn't break the skin.  They were both brave and they loved it.
Then Mimi went in with the leopard. She put on Jude's shirt in case they crawled on her shoulders, which they did. Beautiful animals, leopards. She spent a lot of time playing with them.

I don't know which beast is more beautiful.

It was my turn. I chose the tigers. I am an idiot.

There were four 4 month old tigers prowling around their cage.  They were active. They were hungry. I threw caution to the wind and went in.

Of course when they told me to sit down over on the bench the tigers were milling around I thought "I should definitely not sit down on the bench the tigers are milling around." But I did it anyway because I am both brave and stupid. And one crawled on my back like Philo does every day and sunk his fangs into my shoulder. The guide happened to be filming and caught it on tape. I quickly pulled the tiger off and left the cage. When I took my hand away it was a bloody mess but in the chaos we didn't get a good picture of my bloody shoulder before the cat nanny pounced on me with iodine and bandaids. True to form, I could not stop laughing. It's my fear and pain coping mechanism and many of my babies have come into the world to the sound of my cackling.

There's a puncture wound from the teeth but the bruising that came later was even more evident of how it feels to be bitten by a tiger.
After the incident everybody bullied me into feeding the nice lion that Jude fed. I did it and I didn't like it. I'm done feeding jungle cats.

But the Hippie wasn't. I think he saw my tiger bite as a challenge or one of those get back on the horse and conquer your fear opportunities so despite my protests in he went with bottles. The tigers eventually mellowed but that doesn't change the fact that he has proven his foolhardy bravery. He'll go into the tiger den. And he has the temperament to calm everything down.

This doesn't look safe because it isn't safe.

Too many tigers.  Please how about less tigers.
Tiger friends.

Next was our first Thai meal at a little joint nearby and it was of course magnificent. The children were distracted by the two day old kittens in the box in the corner. Sanitation is not enforced in Thailand.

But all of that happened before lunch.  Next stop: ancient ruins and elephants.


Cassie said...

Only here for the full tiger story...

saffe said...

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