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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Time Event
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 - 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 - 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 - 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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