Location: Chon Buri
This morning we went to the Duang Prateep Foundation to meet up again with the elders of Klong Toey. There were more than eighty senior citizens and the eleven of us so we divided into two big party buses. It was a long drive to Chon Buri. When we got off the bus for lunch, we were surrounded by fish tanks and Rose handled these conditions really well (she really doesn’t like fish!). After lunch we took an open-air bus tour of flower gardens with lots and lots of statue animals. We had gotten so used to looking at life-size replicas of animals beside the road, when suddenly a truck drove by with two live tigers and peacocks inside. Wow! Some of the plants in the gardens had roots that were fat and gnarled and scary. Some of them looked artistic and beautiful. We saw real elephants walking by and we shared the road with them. When we arrived at the performance venue we saw a funny sign saying No Durian Inside (durian is known as the king of fruit and it smells really really stinky). We were a bit late to get in to the show, but we made it inside with all of the senior citizens and settled in for some entertainment. First we saw Muay Thai boxing, then there was traditional Thai drumming, and a war dance where they brought four elephants out from each side and fought with swords. Next we took our seats in a big arena for an elephant show. The elephants are so cute, it was a great performance and the elders really seemed to enjoy it, but when we said goodbye to the elephants we noticed what looked like a tear trickle down one of the elephants faces which led us into a conversation about the ethics of animal shows. Afterward we got back onto the buses and went to a local beach. It was so sweet, the elders sat under the trees while we played in the sand and some of us swam in the sea. The sun was shining brightly and there were lots of pretty wooden Thai fishing boats. It was a happy ending to the day and then we came back to Bangkok on the bus.