Today was our first task day here at the Elephant Nature Park. For the rest of the week we’re on a set schedule:
8:00 work an assigned task for a couple of hours
1:30 work another task for a couple more hours
With the schedule there are a couple hours here and a couple hours there to do nothing and just hang out with the other volunteers.
Also with the schedule waking up before 7am is a good thing.
I slept in today and actually missed breakfast and the first task.
It’s not really a big deal as, after all, we are volunteers (and paying for it to boot) and in fact it wasn’t even noticed that I wasn’t there.
I actually woke up at 4am this morning desperately needing to pee. Going for a pee here is a bit more of a task then normal as you have to navigate the dark, the mosquito net over the bed, getting dressed and then walking over to the public toilets down the stairs.
I laid there for a few minutes trying to figure out if I could hold it in for a couple of hours seeing as how my alarm was set for 6am but, no, this wasn’t going to hold.
So I got my flashlight, navigated out of the net, got dressed and walked over.
Phew. That was alot of work!
I went back to bed and before long my alarm went off. I hit the snooze and then I hit it again.
I was up but not up. I laid in bed debating how bad I really wanted breakfast and if I could get away with playing hooky for my first task of the week.
I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t want to get out of bed just quite yet so I curled up under the blankets and listened as others left their rooms for the dining hall.
By 8:30 everyone was gone and it was eerily quiet again. An hour later I finally got out of bed and an hour after that everyone returned from the morning duty which turned out to be clearing a fire line by raking away leaves from the pathway.
Well, if I was going to miss a task – that sounds just like the one to miss!
I joined everyone for lunch and of course I was starving as it was the first food I had since about 7:00 the night before.
After lunch we had a good hour and a half til our afternoon task so I spent time talking with some nice people.
At 1pm, we were all divided into 4 groups and my group – Group A – was assigned the task of loading banana trees.
Ten of us loaded up into a van and undertook an hour long ride to where the banana trees were being harvested.
An hour away – ugh.
Our task was to load up long parts of the banana trees into the van. It only took us about 20 minutes to do the task but that hour ride there and back wasn’t the most pleasant being cramped in the back of a van.
On the way back we stopped at a supermarket so I took full advantage and bought a bunch of cookies and snacks for the rest of the week.
Oh, and ice cream – I had an ice cream, of course…
We returned back around 5pm and soon it was time for dinner
After dinner there was an optional Thai Culture presentation at 7:30 which most everyone attended. It was kind of cool learning some of the Thai language and the Elephant Song. We had a few laughs and even got a little educated.
By 9pm people were turning in for the night and I wasn’t far behind.
I was finally able to get some decent internet which had been extremely spotty the last 24 hours and was able to upload yesterday’s blog and quickly pop together this one.
So, if you notice my blog isn’t up daily – don’t worry… it’s coming, I probably just don’t have the internet to upload it.
Anyway, that was day 2 in the Elephant Nature Park. Not quite sold on the whole thing yet. Today was definitely better than yesterday and I met some nice people today. However, the tasks suck as they are all menial labor and in the two days I’ve been here I’ve only interacted with an elephant for 10 minutes.
Lots of cats, lots of dogs but not much elephant action. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for tomorrow…