Dec 03, 2013 3 Comments
After I left Myanmar, on the 28th of November, I had 2 days left before my flights home. Having spent a number of days in Bangkok back in 2006, I chose to fly to Chiang Mai in the northern reaches of Thailand. From here I was able to visit an elephant camp, where, aside from riding on the backs of the elephants you have the opportunity to watch elephants paint. The paintings are sold for 1000 bahts (about $36 dollars) and proceeds go to help support the elephants that come into the hospital at the camp. Currently they have about 60 elephants that they care for.
Here is a video (not mine) of Suda painting another painting. Another video explains that the elephants really have no idea what they're painting, and are actually receiving cues from their mahouts. Personally, I don't care about that. The fact that they are using their trunks and physically making the paintings is the most intriguing part of the experience.
The elephants at the camp all appeared to be well cared for and there was no evidence of abuse, from what I could see.
I ended up staying for 3 shows because I found it very interesting. One of the elephants did such a wonderful job that her paintings sold almost immediately. When I saw how she painted, I had to stay long enough to get one. Here (above) is the painting that she painted, and I acquired (currently it is being framed). I have 2 other paintings, this painting I am going to give away. If you are interested in the painting, please send me a message and I will put your name into a hat. On December 9th or 10th I will let one of my coworkers draw the name of the hat and you will be notified.
As an added bonus, here is a photo of me with a tiger that I had the opportunity to sit with at the Tiger Kingdom, also in Chiang Mai. It was such a surreal and horrifying experience.