Mandy’s Mashups

Living a Dream

Well, I started my 2nd big travel adventure of the last 6 months this past Saturday.  More on that drama later.

I have been in Italy since Sunday and have been reminded why I love Italy so much.  However, that is not what this blog post is about.  It is about finally being able to realize a dream.

I first traveled to Italy in 2003 to visit my former study abroad dorm mates.  I got to see Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome and more.  However, I always was disappointed that I wasn’t able to fit in seeing the leaning tower of Pisa.  I have really wanted to see that for years but just couldn’t fit it into that trip.

I knew someday I wanted to make that happen but just wasn’t sure if that someday would be in one year, ten years, or even 30 years done the road.

However, that dream finally came true for me on Tuesday!  We had been doing a site visit in Siena, Italy (another amazing Italian town) and were headed to Alba, Italy where my institution has a program.  We were driving there and I noticed on the map, before leaving Siena, that Pisa was on the way.  I asked my boss if he would mind stopping and he was okay with it since it was on the way.

So thanks to my kind boss I got to live a dream.  It was just as amazing as I thought it would be.  Super crowded with tourists but what else do you expect of a world famous site!  You could even climb up it but I wasn’t sure I wanted to climb up a leaning tower because it really does lean!  I also didn’t want to wear out the patience of my boss! 🙂

I will say that I wasn’t one of those typical tourists holding up the statue but I did take a photo of everyone else holding up their hands!

Part of the reason for this post is to not only share some of my favorite photos but to also comment on the fact that I am extremely fortunate because I am permitted to have a job, that while is sometimes a difficult job, does have the added bonus of allowing me to live through a few dreams!  I very much doubt I would have gotten to see this anytime soon without this experience.  I also didn’t think when I flew to Italy on Saturday that I would have this experience this week.  But sometimes God works in mysterious ways. 😉

One other thing – remember that sometimes dreams do come true and that even when you don’t think they could ever happen you never know!  I know this sounds particularly corny but true nonetheless.

Well, back to pasta, pizza, wine, and ice cream!  More soon.

Siena, Italy

The Leaning Tower!

Me in front of the leaning tower!

All of the tourists holding up their arms to hold up the tower! 🙂

As so it continues

It has been a little over a month since I have arrived back to the States and I have just finally gotten back into my routine (whatever that is).  Of course, this means that I need to travel again.  I leave this week for another 3.5 weeks overseas.  This time in Europe.

This trip is entirely work related and I will have the opportunity to travel to Italy, Ireland, and England.  However, that doesn’t mean their won’t be any fun involved. 

Most of the trip will be work related and some of what we are going to do is not going to be fun (at least that is what I think for now).  But, I do get to do several things that I am actually looking forward to.

I will get to visit my first study abroad program at Edge Hill University.  This will be my first time back there since I studied abroad almost 12 years ago.  I will be staying right on campus (not in my same dorm) and we will have to see how much things have changed.  I really can’t wait.  I think every study abroad student should have the opportunity to go back to their first study abroad location years after they return.

For me, this is the program that changed everything.  After studying abroad here I changed my major and began the path that I am currently on in international education.  I am definitely looking forward to the experience and hoping I can get some of my old roommates to meet me there.

I will also get the chance to meet up with various study abroad friends I have made throughout the years.  I will be meeting with new friends in Dublin, maybe old friends in Italy, and others in between.  It is amazing how close you can be with people that live thousands of miles away.  I think I am closer to some of my study abroad friends than I am to some of my American friends.  Anyone else experience this?

In addition, I will be visiting places I have never been to before, Siena and Alba, Italy as well as Oxford, England.  If you know of any great places to visit in those locations please let me know.  I am always looking for great sites to visit and good places to eat. 

Finally, I will get to try out my new Global Entry card.  I just joined the Global Entry program that allows me to skip the lines at the major airports.  I will be writing a post entirely on this program so more on that later.

For me, it will also be interesting to contrast visiting Westernized Europe vs. my recent visit to the developing world.  One thing I know will be different is that things are going to be so much more expensive.  I also want to compare and contrast the food as well as the people.  I may also examine the Art of Honking. 🙂

If you have any suggestions for travel topics please let me know.

Enjoy my upcoming adventures!  They may be a little tamer than elephants though! 🙂

New Friends

Elephants of Sri Lanka

Salt Harvesting in southern India

Irritation and Frustration in Delhi

On my way back to the States I had a 12 hour layover in Delhi, India.  Instead of spending the 12 hours in the airport I arranged to take a tour of the major attractions of the city.  I really wanted to go to the Taj Mahal but there wasn’t enough time.  Maybe next time.

I have included some of my favorite photos from this tour but that isn’t the purpose of this blog.

Normally, I don’t get on my soapbox and prefer that people develop their own opinions on things.  I would never want anything I said to influence someone to do or not do something without doing their own research.  However, what happened to me in Delhi so infuriated me that I felt that I needed to tell others so that they wouldn’t have to spend an agonizing hour like I did.

Was that enough to wet your appetite?  🙂

Here is what happened.

The driver that was arranged for me was really great and super nice.  He took me to all the major sites like the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, and more.  They were great and it was fun to see all of these different types of sites and I took a ton of photos (some of my favorites are below).

One of the things I really wanted to do was visit a craft market since I had a few more rupees to spend, I love to haggle, and I wanted to get a few more gifts for others and treats for myself.  My driver took me to Delhi Haat which was suppose to be a craft market.  I should point out before I continue that he was told to take me there by the person who arranged my tour so he was doing what he thought was my itinerary.

However, things went wrong from the minute I walked in the door of Delhi Haat.  Before I even cleared the door I was approached by one of the salesmen and said he would show me around.  He went on and on about how the store was government subsidized and this is why they would be able to offer prices that were the cheapest around.  Yeah right!

Here is what the problem was with this store.  One, it was geared towards ripping tourists off.  I wasn’t able to browse the story by myself but was lead through various parts of the store and made to sit and be shown various items like sarees, scarves, rugs, etc.  I did not go into those stores wanting to purchase any of that.  I wanted small items like bangles, etc. 

However, the kicker came when they talked about the prices.  They kept saying how the price was at least 50% of what you would pay in the U.S., which may be true, and since they were supposedly subsidized there was no haggling involved.  They also said they were the cheapest anywhere in India as well and I wouldn’t find a better price anywhere especially when you consider the quality of what they were showing me (their opinion not mine).

My problem was that their prices weren’t the cheapest in fact they were the most expensive I had experienced in all of India.  They also wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.  I had no need for a hand woven rug.  Yet, the salesman would not let me walk away.  Even though there was no haggling every time I went to walk away the price went down.  I also know their prices weren’t the cheapest because, for example, they wanted $5 for a bracelet and I had bought a similar one in southern India for $1. 

So basically all of the prices were marked up since this store was just for tourists and was where all the guides, drivers, and tours took the unsuspecting tourists. 

I finally had enough and told the different salesmen that I needed to “think” about things and then walked out of the store.  I then asked my driver to take me to a different market (since there has to be more than 1 in Delhi) and he took me to a market that was still geared towards tourists but much more reasonably priced.  Not exactly what I had in mind but at least I wasn’t getting completely ripped off.  Again the driver was great and was only doing what he was told to do and he did take me to another more reasonably place.

The reason I have written this blog about my experience at Delhi Haat to to prevent other tourists from being taken advantage of, whether in India or in other countries.  You really need to be aware of where your guides or tours are taking you and research where the good shopping places are. You also have to understand if haggling is allowed and how to do it correctly (yes, there is a correct way).  The other thing you need to understand is if your guide, driver, etc. gets a kickback from visiting certain stores.  There are many tours where the guides receive a percentage of what the tourist buys in that shop, especially since the prices are usually jacked up so high.  This leads to knowing what something should really cost (what would a local get charged).

That was another part that irritated me.  I was made to feel like I didn’t understand what good quality was and how much quality cost.  I understand that I may be paying 4-5 times the price in the U.S. but that is why I am not buying those things in the U.S. and it also doesn’t mean that you can take advantage of me. 

One thing about traveling that I do get frustrated by is the notion of white skin = money.  That is so not true and is frustrating to me that just because I have white skin I should have to pay higher prices.  That is why I encourage everyone to do their research and also to not be afraid to ask locals.  You should not have to be taken advantage of just because you are a tourist and wanting to enjoy another culture.  You should also not be made to feel stupid or like you don’t know good quality or prices.  If you do feel that way don’t be afraid to walk away and look for other markets. 

Haggling and shopping abroad can be a lot of fun but you need to know what you are getting into.

Now that I have vented you can enjoy some of the fun parts of my day with the below photos. 

Feel free to comment if you have ever been in a situation like mine and if you have any tips for others who might face this situation in the future.

India Gate

Snake charmer (he wasn’t that good)

Me in front of Humayun’s Tomb

Qutub Minar

Food Glorious Food

One of the highlights of any good travel experience abroad has to be the food.  For me, I love trying out all sorts of different types of food.  I will try anything. 

I have a rule when traveling as it pertains to food.  The rule is – don’t tell me what is in it until after I have tried it.  Like most people, sometimes if I know what is in it I might not try it because I think I won’t like it.  There is one limit to this rule.  I do ask how spicy something is.  I really don’t want to put something in my mouth that is going to turn it into a raging inferno.  My stomach can handle just about anything but the mouth has its spice limit.

So again rather than go on and on about all the fabulous food I have gotten to try I thought I would show you and you can drool over everything with envy. 🙂  I don’t think I have had anything I really didn’t like this whole trip which is pretty amazing.  I have tried such a wide variety of food and all of it has been pretty good.

Here are some of my favorites (yes I am one of those that takes pictures of my food. 🙂


Delicious Indian food

Fresh Mango ice cream in India

One type of Indian bread

Local Indian dish with mussels

Mangoes and sosso in the Gambia

Traditional Gambian food


Elephants, Monkeys, and Crocodiles – Oh My!

Normally, people write about lions and tigers and bears – oh my.  However, over the course of the last 4 weeks it has been elephants and monkeys and crocodiles – oh my!

I have learned quite a bit about the elephants and even about the habits of monkeys as they roam around temples.  The crocodiles were just an added bonus.  I truly love getting to see the animals of the world as I travel.  It is always a highlight of my trips.

I have seen elephants in Sri Lanka and India, Monkeys in the Gambia, Sri Lanka and India and Crocodiles in India.  Some of been in the wild while some have been in different parks/enclosures.

So rather than go into detail about all the different aspects of these animals I thought I would just share some of my favorite photos of the different animals I have encountered in my 4 weeks of traveling. 

I have hundreds of pictures and have posted some already so these are new ones.  It is hard to narrow down to the best photos but here they are.


Wild baby elephant in Sri Lanka

Bonus animal – wild water buffalo in Sri Lanka – I love its face!

Crocodiles in India

Look at all the crocodiles in India – They are laying on top of each other!

Here is looking at you! – baby elephant in India

Scratching an itch – wild monkeys in India

The Art of the Honk

I realized today that after posting my appreciations and understandings entry that I forgot one huge thing that I have come to actually be more confused about  no matter how hard I try and figure it out.

What am I referring to?  The art of the honk!
In every country I have traveled to so far, including India, where I arrived safely today, there seems to be an intricate method to the art of honking.  Sometimes it is to signal they are going to pass someone or that you are in their way.  Other times I think it is just because you are white. 

However, no matter how hard I try and how many other people I discuss it with I don’t seem to grasp the reasoning or the method behind the madness that is honking in foreign countries.  Every time I have it figured out and think I understand, then the driver doesn’t honk when I expect him to and honks when I don’t. 

I also wonder if this is something they learn in drivers’ training since everyone seems to do it.  Some just might make up their own rules as they go along.  Either way there seems to be an intricate means of knowing when, where, and who to honk at in foreign countries that I have yet to crack.  If you have insight into this please feel free to comment.

Today, though, I did meet the king of the honk.  The driver I had from the airport literally honked for 2.5 hours straight.  I lost track of the number of honks after 200 and there was still 30-45 minutes left in the trip.  I think he may have been the exception and not the rule since no one else around us seemed to be honking quite as frequently.

I thought I would write a separate blog post on this interesting facet of traveling rather than add it to my list.  Feel free to comment with your experiences with the art of the honk.

Appreciations and Understanding

This post is dedicated to revelations, appreciations and greater understanding.  However, before I begin I want to make clear that some of these items are not new to me.  I have realized them before.  They just bear mentioning since every time I travel out of the United States I am reminded of some of these items.  These are only the things from the first two legs of my journey but, figured if I didn’t write them down now I would forget.

As I travel around the world this summer I am reminded and come to realize how much I appreciate certain things as well as have come to a greater understanding about a few other things.

Some of the most prominent of these are the following:

  • I realize what it is like to be the minority and to be stared at because of the color of my skin (or lack there of in this case).  In the U.S. this is never an issue for me since I am in the majority for the most part.  In every place I have been to I have been stared at because I am the white person visiting a non-white place.  People, especially children, just want to shake my hand because I am one of the only white people they have come into contact with and are intrigued by my lack of pigmentation. (Although, I will say I am making a valiant effort to work on my tan!).  This is quite an interesting thing to experience especially when you don’t understanding the language and don’t know if they are telling jokes about you or just commenting on meeting a white person.
  • I forget how frustrating it is to have a language barrier.  This has happened more times then I care to admit this trip and will continue to happen.  Hand gestures only get you so far.  However, there was just no way to learn 4-5 languages in a few weeks that would accommodate all the places I am traveling to.  So hand gestures and pointing it is!
  • Either because of the color of my skin or because I am from America, many people expect something from me, particular as it relates to money.  Before anyone gets upset, please note I have said many but not all.  This particular pertains to tuk tuk drivers and store keepers, who think a white female can’t possibly know that 500 rupees for a 250 rupee ride is extortion!  Little do they know.  The other situation I have run into repeatedly is when sitting in a restaurant and people with supposed handicaps or disabilities come up to me and my other “white” friends with their hand out expecting money.  I will say that for each of these situations there are 1-2 other people I have run into that just want to hear about what I do and where I am from, with no expectation of a gift from me.  That is refreshing.  Because believe it or not, even though I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity to travel like I am doing and see all the wonderful places I am seeing, I am not rich, in fact nowhere near close.  Having said this I also know that most of the people I have met will never have the opportunity to travel outside their home country or see more than 15 countries like I have.  However, this doesn’t mean you can take advantage of me. 🙂

Now a few more practical items

  •     I greatly appreciate hot showers and a real pillow.  I haven’t had either in more than 3 weeks.  Where I am traveling doesn’t seem to understand the concept of what pillow is and that it needs to be fluffy!  Warm water is also nice even if the weather is boiling hot.  I can’t wait for both!
  • I will miss being driven around everywhere, whether it is by a tuk tuk driver or a hired driver, I will really miss that.  I wish I could take one home for me and continue to have someone drive me around.  I know this is possible in the U.S. but I don’t want to pay U.S. rates for this.  I want to pay Gambian or Sri Lankan rates for drivers.  That would be so great.  Never having to worry about directions or getting road rage would be so wonderful.  I will have to work on this.  I don’t know what I am going to do when I go home and have to drive myself somewhere!  Plus in these last two countries they drive on the opposite side of the road so you may want to steer clear of me for a few days until I get my driving legs back!
  • A little poo doesn’t hurt.  I am sure if someone found a miraculous age cure that involved elephant poo they would be paying hundreds of dollars to be covered it in like I am on a daily basis.  The reason why I point this out is that what I really mean is a little dirt doesn’t hurt.  It is okay and, in fact, I encourage everyone to get a little dirty every once it awhile.  What a great stress reliever.

As I think of more I will update this but until then enjoy some of these fun photos.

Wild elephant and his friends – on safari at Uda Walawe National Park

Awesome view from Lipton’s Seat – most of that is tea!

No seats so rode in the doorway of the train for 7 hours. Even the local had to get in the photo!

Elephant Education

This post is dedicated to educating you a little about the elephants I have come into contact with here at the Millennium Elephant Foundation and also letting you in on a little of what I have learned in my week and a half with them.

There are basically two general types of elephants – African and Asian and Sri Lanka has one of the largest populations of Asian elephants in the world.  They have both wild and captive Asian elephants.

This post is dedicated to the captive elephant population.  There are wild elephant sanctuaries here in Sri Lanka but the work I am doing is with the captive elephant population. 

Elephants have been in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years.  However, like all things, when man gets involved, they don’t always get used in the most appropriate means.  Here in Sri Lanka captive elephants may be used as logging elephants meaning they are chained to cut logs and made to haul them out of the forest as the main means of transportation for this industry.  This has resulted in the elephants being overworked, malnourished, and even harmed.  Many logging elephants break their legs due to the weight they are forced to haul over long distances and over long periods of time.

One thing I didn’t know about elephants before coming here is that elephants cannot lie down for long periods of time.  With the anatomy of an elephant, if they lay down they are actually cutting off their ability to breath.  While they are in the water that is different, since as we all know, water adds buoyancy so they are still able to breathe.  As you can imagine, having a broken leg could actually be a death sentence for an elephant if it is left untreated and/or they are in too much pain and feel they must lie down. 

This is why Millennium Elephant Foundation exists.  It is they only one of its kind in Sri Lanka.  It is the only organization in Sri Lanka dedicated to the welfare of captive Sri Lankan elephants.  The elephants here are either here recovering from injuries, like broken legs, or they are here to live out their retirement.  In some cases, MEF actually pays the owners of the elephants to keep them here so that they aren’t used for logging or other purposes. 

One thing I would like to point out is that it may be disturbing to see the elephants chained and the mahouts carrying what looks to be spears.  However, they are done for a reason, mostly for the safety of the elephants and those around them.  The MEF compound is not fenced off which means that if an elephant really wanted to it could run into the road, on to some else’s property, etc.  That is one reason they are chained.  For example, one of the previous enrichment activities involved having the elephants push tires around.  They got so use to this that some of them started chasing after cars! 

Another reason for the chains is that, like most animals, they go into heat.  Male elephants go into heat for 3-6 month periods and can be extremely aggressive so they must be chained so they don’t attack other elephants or humans.  Female elephants also go into heat, for shorter, periods of time, and can become aggressive as well.

MEF is working on fundraising to purchase a fence to enclose the property so they elephants can be let off of the chains.  This will also be a departure from the traditional training of a mahout and how they are trained to care for the elephants. 

The spears are used to direct the elephants.  They are not sharp and in reality an elephant’s skin is so thick that getting jabbed doesn’t hurt at all but is more like a gentle spanking.  MEF is working with the mahouts to train them on other methods of controlling the elephants that evolve rewards vs. pressure points.

This seems to be a much more humane way to treat elephants than what others are doing, not saying there aren’t other good organizations out there. 

It really has been eye-opening to see why places like this exist and how they operate.  Plus I have the added bonus of getting to observe and even play with elephants every single day.

I hope you have learned a little from this entry and now you can enjoy some of my favorite elephant photos!

Waiting for a treat!

All moving to their own beat!

Even elephants need to scratch their backs!

Bandara receiving a little medical treatment

Tuk Tuks, Travel, and Buddhism, Oh My!

I am currently super sick with some sort of bronchitis like thing so what better time than to write another blog. 

This weekend I had the opportunity to travel throughout the hill country and further north visiting some of the ancient city.  I went with two of my new friends from Ireland and we visited many of the temples in the area.  We went to Dambulla, Polonnaruwu, and Aluvihare. 

It was quite an adventure to say the least.  It started off okay with us not knowing how we were going to get to the end of the road (literally) and catch the bus.  We were told we could just walk outside Millennium and catch the bus to the crossroad and then catch the bus to Kandy.  The buses don’t really stop and you have to catch their attention to get on.  We couldn’t figure out which bus to get on since they writing was all in Sinhala so instead we just hopped a tuk tuk and had them take us to the corner.  I will say the corner is quite a ways away.  It is probably 2-3 miles from our site so walking with a full backpack is not a great plan.

We did finally get to the corner and were able to figure out which bus to get on to Kandy.  So that part was easy enough.  The bus ride was about 1.5 hours to Kandy.

I will admit that I have forgotten what it is like to have a language barrier.  I have really only been traveling in countries lately where either English is widely spoken or where I speak the language, in this case Spanish.  So when trying to figure out where to get off the bus in Kandy there was a bit of a language problem.  We thought the ticket taker was asking us to get off right when we got into Kandy, which we did.  However, we now think that he was just telling us that we were in Kandy.  So instead we got off a couple of miles from where we needed to.  Then we had to get another tuk tuk to the city center and 5 of us piled into one tuk tuk with a small child already in it.  That was interesting to say the least.

Some of you may be asking what a tuk tuk is.  That is a great question.  It is basically a three wheeled vehicle.  Think of a motorcycle front attached to a cart.  I have a picture below.  They are always interesting experiences.  I don’t think I could drive here at all.  Some of the drivers must be literally crazy!  There must be some sort of elaborate system for passing and honking one’s horn that I don’t yet understand.  Additionally, some of the drivers have no concept of what shifting is and they pass each other like they were playing chicken with each other.  Sometimes it is better to just close your eyes.

A tuk tuk

Now back to the temples.  I have included several pictures below.  I will admit that I don’t know much about the Buddhist religion other than my ability to recognize their statues and a few of their practices.  So I am sure that what we saw has way more meaning that what I was getting out of it.  For me, many of the statues were cool looking but after 2 temples they all start to look the same.  We saw many statues in each site with quite a few people visiting to worship.  It was surprising that in almost all the places there were very few tourists and most of the people visiting were native Sri Lankans.  Some of them seem like they visit every day. 

I will say that I was a little disappointed that at the Temple of the Tooth that you couldn’t even see the tooth.  It was hidden behind a gold wall and doom.  However, hundreds of people were stopping to pay their respects and pray to the tooth, which you couldn’t see.

Then at Dambulla, what the guide book said was a little climbing, ended up being a major climb.  I think it took us more than 30 minutes to climb to the top using uneven stairs (standard construction here in Sri Lanka).  Dambulla is the cave temple with the statues placed inside the different caves.  It is kind of neat how everything is built into the various caves.

Polonnaruwa was different than the rest as it was more ruins as well as temples.  I did find it interesting but we were having an unofficial tour so we missed a lot of information.  Plus some of the ruins were basically just the floors left.  Most of the temples were sealed so we couldn’t see what was inside and it was a little disappointing.

One thing we underestimated was how long it takes to get from point A to point B here in Sri Lanka.  You would think that a 3 hour bus would take 3 hours but here is Sri Lanka you are lucky if you get there within 4 hours.  Part of it is that the roads in the area are hilly and extremely curvy which means driving them takes more time.  Plus we ran into a bunch of construction that created one lane roads with buses still trying to pass each other like it was two lanes.  Craziness to say the least.

This meant we couldn’t do all the places we planned on since we underestimated the time it would take to get to places.  So instead of doing another temple we headed back on Saturday which worked out well since I had gotten this stupid cold thing.  We had to take a tuk tuk to a bus to Kandy and then figure out how to get another bus to Kegalle which is the city we are near. 

We ended up getting some food and trying to find the bus to Kegalle in Kandy which was an ordeal.  We asked numerous people which bus to get on and we walking all over the bus area being sent in multiple directions.  Sometimes even back where were started.  I should also mention it was pouring down rain during this time and we were getting soaked the more we walked.  Finally, a nice old man took pity on us and walked us to our bus.  We were one of the last to get on and we felt bad since we were soaked and didn’t want to get others soaked as well but there was no way around it.  We had to ride the bus for 1.5 hours soaking wet. But, eventually we got back and took a tuk tuk back to Millennium.  It was an interesting but nice weekend.  All the places we stayed at were extremely nice and many of the shops we went to gave us discounts since we were working with the elephants.  In the end it was nice to see more of Sri Lanka and review some of the history and culture of this country.

Enjoy some of my pictures below.  They are unedited!

Temple of the Tooth

Crazy Monkey at Dambulla

Monk Statues at Dambulla

Buddhas of Dambulla caves

Buddha statue of Polonnaruwa

All About Elephants

As my new British friends would say – It is pissing down rain here.  So I am taking the time to fill everyone in about some of my Sri Lankan adventures.

I am currently working at the Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF).  They are a pretty cool group of people and include volunteers from Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and, of course, the USA currently. 

I must warn you that some of the photos you may see may seem like cruelty towards the elephants but you must remember that the tradition of the Mahouts and elephant training has  been part of Sri Lankan culture for years and the way they are doing things is part of their culture even if we may not agree with it.  I will say that MEF is working with the Mahouts on alternative training methods but it is a slow process.  So please keep these things in mind when viewing the photos and videos I have included.

Working for MEF is not for the faint of heart.  You have to get up at about 6:45am every morning in order to, literally, sling poop and clean and elephant pen.  However, after that you get the privilege of bathing your elephant in the river.  The river isn’t the cleanest thing in the world but cleaning an elephant is as cool as it sounds! 

The volunteers also have to do other projects like move a ton of poop, deliver poop to the paper making factory, check your elephant’s feet for sores, etc. and feed them treats and vitamins.  You also get to set up games for them and just are able to sit back and observe them as much as you want.  It is pretty awesome.

I think in my next post I will include what the daily schedule looks like.  I will never I have never slept better from physical exhaustion! 

I will also try and include a post that details a little about each of the elephants.

For now enjoy the below videos and photos. 

If you enjoy the elephants and want to support this project you can actually adopt one of the elephants for one year.  If you decide to adopt you will get a nice packet of information once I return to the states.  Talk to you soon. 

Showering oneself!

Taking a walk

The Chain Gang

Elephant Tricks


This blog is about my upcoming and continued adventures abroad.  Stay tuned!


May 2012


Passport Health
Sri Lanka
Study Abroad
The Gambia