reddress

Culling

So I'm going through my friends list and culling everyone I think is no longer active on LJ. If you don't post or comment, i am assuming the account is inactive. If you are reading and not posting or commenting, speak up now.
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Travel Diary - Day 13 - Tiger Temple and Doi Suthep.

Today we went to the Tiger Kingdom. Getting to play with a tiger was one of my primary motives for wanting to visit Thailand. This is also something that left me fairly ethically conflicted. I don’t approve of the exploitation of animals for money and human entertainment. But I also acknowledge that tigers are endangered and breeding programs need to exist. Tigers over two years old are too dangerous to play with the public, so this place breeds the tigers, uses them for two years and then either keeps them as breeding stock or sells them to other zoos and wildlife parks.

However, I decided to put my qualms away and just enjoy the experience. Keep my eyes open and talk about it.

Following Tina’s advice again, we paid for a photographer to follow us around and capture the experience. This was good in that we got some lovely photos, but also distracting in that I wanted to focus solely on the tigers and the photographer wanted me to pose for photos. Again, they are catering to a market that wants photos of themselves with tigers.

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Travel Diary - Day 12 - Chiang Mai

Back in Chiang Mai, in a different hotel near the night market, my knees decided it would be a great time for an arthritis flare up. I’d kind of been expecting this and just glad it didn’t happen in the jungle. Being in different locations can cause immune reactions, which my kind of arthritis is, something about all the different germs and whatever in an unfamiliar place, stress is also a factor. And perhaps the biggest factor is the fact I decided not to take my arthritis medication with me. My meds comprise an injection once a fortnight. The injection needs to be kept refrigerated, the hassle of organising refrigeration (not even electricity in the jungle) combined with not wanting to take syringes to Thailand were a factor in my decision. At least I know the Humira is working. So I popped some Celebrex and lay around most of the day feeling sorry for myself.

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Travel Diary - Days 9-11 - TECC

Today was the reason we were in the north of Thailand. We headed to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) for a three day adventure with elephants. This place came highly recommended by friends as the place to go for elephant adventures. They are home to a free elephant hospital and provide a living for elephants, mahouts and their families. Elephants and mahouts were significantly impacted by the banning of elephants in the timber industry, forcing them to resort to tourism for a living. This post got really long, so you may need some time to read it.

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Travel Diary - Chiang Mai Day 7 & 8

So we left Cambodia and headed to Thailand. Our first stop in Thailand was Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is the major city in the north of Thailand. A regional centre might be a more accurate term. This was out jumping off point to TECC and tigers. If you wanted to visit hill tribes, villages or jungle trekking in Thailand, this is where you go.

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Travel Diary - Cambodia Day 6

I guess there are only so many temples you can visit, although there were many we didn't find time to see. On Day 6 we opted to visit Tonle Sap. Tonle Sap is the biggest lake in Cambodia, this is a huge lake that numerous rivers run into and the size of the lake varies greatly between wet and dry season. Lonely Planet recommended the Tonle Sap floating villages in the top 5 things to do in Siem Reap and Nat also endorsed the idea.

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Travel Diary - Cambodia Day 5

This was my favourite of all the days I spent in Cambodia. Certainly the tour I enjoyed the most of my whole adventure. The tour was a 75km ride out of Siem Reap to Beng Melea, a temple out in the jungle that is not part of the Angkor Complex and not protected by the UNESCO world heritage listing. This tour was also run by Grasshopper Adventures.

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Travel Diary - Cambodia Day 4

There was a group called Grasshopper Adventures that does a range of cycling tours throughout Asia. I can't say enough good things about these people, we ended up doing three tours with them and would happily do more. We decided to start with an easy one to see what we thought and if their bikes were any good. We opted for a 25km kilometre ‘country village ride’. This was an easy ride that saw us leave Siem Reap and cycle around some nearby villages.

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Travel Diary - Cambodia Day 3

This morning our alarm was set for 4am. At 4:30am we were in a car heading out to Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise along with hundreds of other tourists.

This is supposed something that rocks up on all those 'top 100 things you should do before you die' lists.

Holding a torch we stumbled through the dark into the Angkor complex and staked out a seat on one of the library steps. Most of the crowd clustered around the edge of the ponds. The predawn light was magnificent. The towers of Angkor framed against the sky.

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Travel Diary - Cambodia Day 2

Day 2 began with meeting our driver and a guide, again part of the package. We started with a guided tour of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the big one, it’s the main temple, one of the largest and in the best condition. It was built in the 12th Century as a monument to Vishnu and to the King. However, as Buddhism rose to prominence, much of the Hindu iconography has been adapted to suit Buddha. The temples are all in the same basic design. Square walled compounds, often with a moat, and gates and causeways in the four cardinal directions. The number of towers and levels vary, but the higher the tower, the closer to god. Angkor Wat has nine towers. Apparently even numbers are unlucky. They also have separate buildings called libraries, I think I liked these structures the best.

Tiggrr climbing the library

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