There are moments in life where you realize, very clearly and undeniably that this will be something that you will remember forever. Something so out of the ordinary… something that creates such a special moment for those involved… something so totally incredible. I had a moment like this two days ago. Several in fact.
I am in Thailand. I traveled here with my parents to see my sister, Vonda. “Ah-ha” you say. “That is why she hasn’t posted for so long.” Well, it is one reason. The busyness leading up to the trip, the trip itself (over 24 hours), then the jet lag.. Suffice it to say, I just haven’t had the motivation and energy to post. But this one… it’s too good to pass up.
Saturday, our first full day in Surin, the town where my sister is a missionary, we went to the Elephant Village. This is a village where the entire purpose and industry revolves around the elephants. The elephants are family. They are loved and honored. When an elephant is born it is “given” to someone in the village who is responsible for it’s care and training for it’s entire life. They have an elephant show wherein the elephants paint pictures (extremely impressive), play soccer, basketball, do tricks, and even step over volunteers lying on mats on the ground. I volunteered. It was either a temporary moment of insanity, or extreme bravery but Vonda and I both did it. Much more pleasant than holding a tarantula to impress my eight year old niece and nephew a few years ago.
Anyway, my Dad was intrigued by the thought of riding an elephant. He paid a minimal fee to have an elephant pick him up on his trunk and lift him up in the air. THAT will possibly be the highlight of my trip. Then all four of us paid to ride the elephants. We climbed into a basket and rode around the village. There were several things about that ride that impressed me. Just the very special moments shared with my Dad (we shared a basket) as we both enjoyed this “we aren’t in Kansas anymore” experience would have made it worth it. In addition, the slow pace, ambling around the dusty streets of this very simple village, peaceful in the afternoon as most of the people were involved with the show and the tourists left me feeling as if I was entering another time. Then I realized… this is their normal. This is their home. This is what they know and love. We saw many many elephants, almost one for every yard. The good thing… they don’t bark when you go by.
My dad’s observation of the ride was that it provided a loosening exercise for his lower back. 🙂 He was intrigued by it all, but a little disappointed. He didn’t want to ride in the basket. He wanted to ride bareback like the trainers did. Now that… THAT would be a real elephant ride. I guess he just wanted to see if it was anything like riding a horse bareback. 🙂
At several points in the three hours we spent in the village it struck me… I am blessed to have this opportunity. To be here in this place today with my parents and sister. To see another perspective of this world. To see another group of people needing the Lord.
I’ve had the thought, several times here that it would be fun to write a “Double Cousins Mystery” here in Thailand. I don’t think it’s at all practical…. the children in my book don’t come with enough money to travel en masse someplace across the world. Then… how would they ever solve a mystery in a land where they can’t understand a thing that is said. I guess I’ll stick to the good ol’ USA for a few more books. I did a bit of revising of the second book on the plane ride over here and plan to do a lot more on the way home. I need to gear up to start marketing that book.
So, I’ll try to blog again soon from Thailand. There’s so much to share from this beautiful country. Keep checking. I’ll try to post again in a couple of days. 🙂 The basket-weaving village is today…. don’t think it will require the bravery/insanity of the elephant village. I hope not, I think I’ve used up my bravery and hope the insanity stays buried. 🙂