Instead of spending our last few days in Bangkok we have taken a side trip to Khao Yai National Park. It is a spectacular place and one we will definitely return to when we have more time.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, but we did see four Great Horned Bills in a single tree and through the binoculars they looked just like this.
Yesterday as we cycled towards the park from the town of Pak Chong we were both wondering how we ended up in Canmore or maybe Aspen. This area is where wealthy people from Bangkok have their second homes, in shockingly expensive developments with names like “The Cotswalds,” “The Thames,” “Toscana,” and “Provence.”
This morning we passed four beautiful elephants chained up by the side of the road to the park. Now I was faced with a dilemma. Should I stop and admire them when I know the sad truths about the exploitation and poaching that goes on with elephants in the tourist industry?  Or should I just continue on as if I hadn’t seen them?  The problem is, elephants are just so amazing, and yes I stopped, and yes I took pictures, and yes I paid money to feed them sugar cane. Can I not say that my actions were motivated by compassion for these beautiful creatures, and like a member of the John Howard society, I was visiting and bringing tasty comfort to a poor chained creature? After Gord had heard enough of my guilt ridden justifications he said, “You know, I am chained to my desk at work; no one sees this as a problem, and they definitely don’t bring me sugar cane; well, maybe a few pieces around Christmas.”
We are staying in a bungalow in the park, and having learned our monkey lessons in Lopburi, our bikes are inside and safe for the night. Groups of pig tailed macaques have been trooping past our window as I write this. Oh boy now one is sitting on our railing. 

Gordon:  It’s later in the evening and we have just returned from a “night safari.”  This consists of riding in the back of a pickup truck while a guide scans the area with a spotlight.  As well as many sambar deer, we saw a porcupine (somewhat different from the North American species), a lime green snake (reputedly venomous), and a civet (they look like a cross between an otter and a cat).   While we did not encounter elephants (there are more than 200 in the park), or a tiger or a leopard, there was a possibility that we could.  Consequently we were on the edge of our seats for the entire outing, and Ruth said she would happily do it again every night if we remained in the park.

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