Tiger Kingdom

Let me just say, this kind of thing would NEVER happen in the United States… but in Chiang Mai it’s a great attraction.

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Going to Tiger Kingdom was such a blast!  We had heard about it before we came to Chiang Mai, and it’s impossible not to see all the ads for it once you get here : )

You don’t have to pay to enter Tiger Kingdom per se, it’s a restaurant and there’s a snack bar where you can buy fish food for the pond outside the tiger area… but if you want to “interact” with the tigers, you pay a fee per person.  The tigers are separated into size categories.  You can visit the Newborns, Small, Medium or Large tigers.  We read the reviews on TripAdvisor and decided to take the advice that said the small cats are more playful and feisty.  When we got there we realized that the rules actually won’t allow children under the age of 13 to visit the larger two categories anyway.  We told Wesley he might look a little too much like a tasty chicken nugget to the BIG tigers : )

I think Wesley was happy with the newborns and the first tiger we visited… he was almost three months old and we nicknamed him Simba… and then realized that was from “The Lion King.”  That’s not a tiger movie.  Oh well : )

You were also able to hire a photographer to go with you… for only an extra $10!  I thought that was a DEAL… to not have to worry about getting the shot, and just have fun experiencing the tigers.  Someone I know… ahem… someone that I’m married to… ahem… can sometimes forget he’s not ALWAYS a cameraman.  Plus, the photographer knew what was allowed with the tigers.  He told Wesley to lay down on the tiger…

DSC_0018 You can tell Wesley is a little bit confused… like “What???”  But the photographer just kept encouraging him, “Lay down and you can pet him… he’ll like it.”

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Look at that smile!

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Animals have always loved Wesley… he was the only one who got “kisses” from the tiger.

You woke me up!

So tired!

Such a big yawn!  I think he was bothered that we woke him up : )

DSC_0004There were at least four other tigers in the cage after we saw the first one.  We wanted to see all of them.  Next we went to see this guy… who was a little bigger and who we also nicknamed Simba.

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He was feeling a little bit frisky and kept swishing his tail.  The rules for being in the tiger enclosures were very simple:

  • Don’t approach them from the front, approach from the back
  • Don’t touch their face or try to pet their head
  • Don’t touch their front paws
  • Don’t let them lick you (I’m serious… that was on the board!)

Of course you’ll see that Damon ignores almost all of these rules…

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Since Damon didn’t get caught by any of the workers (and the photographer didn’t seem to care), we didn’t get kicked out and were able to go see the “twins.”

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Named Kiwi & Orange, these are a brother/sister that were so playful!  They were tussling and fighting and occasionally letting us pet them in-between attacking each other.  It was too adorable.  They’re still learning not to bite and scratch humans, but they’re allowed to do that all they want to each other.  Damon took this video where you can hear them growling at each other:

Next time I’ll post about our lunch with the big tigers!

Nuad Bo-Rarn (Ancient Massage of Thailand)

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

I can’t say enough about ITM Massage School.  I enjoyed every bit of being there… well maybe not the part about my knees hurting so much, but you know what I mean!  I learned so much and it was joyful … Continue reading

Exhausted

We make Wesley a “pallet” every night from the couch’s flat bottom cushion… and almost every night he forgets to take his glasses off.  This was my view every morning as I left for school… and I wouldn’t get to see him awake until I got home at 5:00 or 6:00pm.

Zzzzzzz....

Zzzzzzz….

But school is now DONE!  (Pictures and post about school coming soon.)

I’m done for now, but I’ve left the door open to return to Chiang Mai for more classes. What’s happened since I finished school is that I realized we’re all exhausted.

Not just Wesley.  Not just Damon.  Not just me.  All of us.

We’re exhausted from traveling.

It’s more tiring that you would think.  Constantly changing hotels, packing, un-packing, researching, hurrying to catch flights, rushing to grab taxis… it’s a lot.  Believe me, when Rick Steves says “To get away from it all, you also get away from all the comforts of home,” he really means it.

That’s why we’ve decided to head home.  We thought we would travel for a year, but that was just a random pick.  I thought it would be a more meaningful trip if we got to experience a year’s worth of holidays in another country… (What would we do for Thanksgiving?  What do they do for Christmas? How would we spend our birthdays? etc.) But I think all of us are ready to leave Thailand and come home.

Once we decided to cut the trip off early, it became clear we should try to head back in time for Wesley to start public school again.  Home-Schooling was never my thing…  and Wesley didn’t exactly “blossom” using the computer curriculum.  (Well, that’s not exactly true… he did learn a lot about computers.  I did catch him reading the html code to figure out which answer resulted in a “correct” field.)  But I have definitely learned that I am NOT a teacher and I should value and appreciate the professionals who are!

So our current plan is to fly back to the USA in time for Wesley to start the second week of school (the Tuesday after Labor Day).  We couldn’t get frequent flyer tickets available before then and we were NOT willing to pay the ridiculous airfare!

If you live in Austin, Houston or Franklin… we’ll be seeing you soon!