The other day, we played with baby tigers. Anyone who knows me will recognize my expression in the picture below–unbridled joy reserved for up close contact with baby animals. The more exotic the better. The tigers live at a place called Tiger Kingdom, close to an elephant camp and about a dozen other tourist attractions. Considering the sad chains and sharp training sticks present at even the best run elephant camp, I was a little nervous about the state of the animals at a tourist attraction that allowed people to pet full grown tigers. Still, on the website it stressed that no tranquilization was used, and the animals were treated well.
The website seemed to prove true. The grounds were lovely, the animal enclosures were very green and relatively large. We only hung out with the baby, baby tigers because we are wimps, but the trainers were very gentle with them. They hold a little stick that they tap on the ground when the tigers misbehave. When a little guy nibbled my finger, the trainer tapped his nose softly.
The next day, we went on a zip line course through the treetops outside Chiang Mai. Incredible, and so fun. The group behind us included one guy who chose to scream like a wild banshee on every jump. I think he was trying to entertain the rest of his group. Get it? High pitched screaming is internationally hilarious, right? I’d share more, but I’m guessing it’s more fun to go on a rainforest zip line adventure than it is to read about a rainforest zip line adventure, so I’ll leave it at that.
The train ride back to Bangkok was uneventful–until the train stopped about an hour outside the city. I figured it was just another stop, until we failed to start again. Eventually, one of the train workers told Kelly that we had to get off the train and go to another train on the next track over. We were on a sleeper train, and the train he pointed to was a much more crowded 3rd class train. “Move quickly,” Kelly said, wheeling her suitcase down the aisle. I grabbed my things and hurried to the next train, figuring the train had broken down.
After we’d settled into our seats, Kelly leaned in towards us. “Someone died in our train car,” she said. The train worker had told her. That’s why the train was stopped. I’m realizing as I write that I have no way to transition away from “and then we realized that someone had died in his sleep mere feet from us.”
So that was strange.
Here’s a picture of Matt drinking like five different things at breakfast: